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__ NEW tORK 

PUBLIC LIBRARY 



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fOL'NDATIONi 




PRINCE JUMPED NERVOUSLY AND SHIED TO ONE SIDE. 
The Outdoor Girls at Rainbow Lake. Frontispiece (Page 28) 



The Outdoor Girls 
at Rainbow Lake 

OR 

THE STIRRING CRUISE OF THE 
MOTOR BOAT GEM 



BY 

LAURA LEE HOPE 

AUTHOR OF " THE OUTDOOR GIRLS OF DEEPDALE," " THE 

OUTDOOR GIRLS IN A MOTOR CAR," " THE BOBBSEY 

TWINS," " THE BOBBSEY TWINS AT THE 

SEASHORE," ETC. 



ILLUSTRATED 



NEW YORK 

GROSSET & DUNLAP 

PUBLISHERS 



Made in the United States of America 









4 n 






BOOKS FOR GIRLS 

BY LAURA LEE HOPE 

I2mo. Cloth. Illustrated. Price per volume, 

50 cents, postpaid. 
THE OUTDOOR GIRLS SERIES 

THE OUTDOOR GIRLS OF DEEPDALE 
THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW 

LAKE 

THE OUTDOOR GIRLS IN A MOTOR CAR 
THE OUTDOOR GIRLS IN A WINTER 

CAMP 
THE OUTDOOR GIRLS IN FLORIDA 

THE BOBBSEY TWINS BOOKS 

For Little Men and Women 

THE BOBBSEY TWINS 

THE BOBBSEY TWINS IN THE COUNTRY 
THE BOBBSEY TWINS AT THE SEA- 
SHORE 

THE BOBBSEY TWINS AT SCHOOL 
THE BOBBSEY TWINS AT SNOW LODGE 

GROSSET & DUNLAP, PUBLISHERS, NEW YORK 



COPYRIGHT, 1913, BY 
GROSSET & DUNLAP. 



THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTER PAGE 

I A GRAND SURPRISE I 

II AFTER THE PAPERS II 

III THE RUNAWAY 22 

IV THE MISSING DOCUMENTS 31 

V THE GEM 40 

VI READY FOR A CRUISE 51 

VII STOWAWAYS 60 

VIII A HINT OF GHOSTS 72 

IX OFF ON A TRIP 81 

X ADRIFT 89 

XI IN DANGER 99 

XII AT RAINBOW LAKE 106 

XIII CRACKERS AND OLIVES 115 

XIV THE REGATTA 127 

XV THE RACE 139 

XVI FIGHTING FIRE 148 

XVII ON ELM ISLAND 158 

XVIII IN CAMP 166 

XIX A QUEER DISTURBANCE 172 

XX THE STORM 179 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTER 

XXI THE GHOST 188 

XXII WHAT MOLLIE FOUND 193 

XXIII SETTING A TRAP 196 

XXIV THE GHOST CAUGHT 204 

XXV THE MISSING SADDLE 208 






THE OUTDOOR GIRLS 
AT RAINBOW LAKE 

CHAPTER I 

A GRAND SURPRISE 

" GIRLS, I've got the grandest surprise for 
you ! " 

Betty Nelson crossed the velvety green lawn, 
and crowded into the hammock, slung between 
two apple trees, which were laden with green 
fruit. First she had motioned for Grace Ford 
to make room for her, and then sank beside her 
chum with a sigh of relief. 

"Oh, it was so warm walking over!' she 
breathed. " And I did come too fast, I guess." 
She fanned herself with a filmy handkerchief. 

"But the surprise?' Mollie Billette reminded 
Betty. 

" I'm coming to it, my dear, but just let me 
get my breath. I didn't know I hurried so. 
Swing, Grace." 

With a daintily shod foot a foot slender and 
in keeping with her figure Grace gave rather a 



2 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

languid push, and set the hammock to swaying in 
wider arcs. 

Amy Stonington, who had not joined in the 
talk since the somewhat hurried arrival of Betty, 
strolled over to the hammock and began peering 
about in it that is, in as much of it as the fluffy 
skirts of the two occupants would allow to be 
seen. 

" I don't see it," she said in gentle tones 
everything Amy did was gentle, and her disposi- 
tion was always spoken of as " sweet ' by her 
chums, though why such an inapt word is gen- 
erally selected to describe what might better be 
designated as " natural ' is beyond comprehen- 
sion. " I don't see it," murmured Amy. 

"What? 5 asked Grace, quickly. 

" I guess she means that box of chocolates," 
murmured Mollie. " It's no use, Amy, for Grace 
finished the last of them long before Betty blew 
in on us or should I say drifted? Really, it's 
too warm to do more than drift to-day." 

" You finished the last of the candy yourself! ' 
exclaimed Grace, with spirit. If Grace had one 
failing, or a weakness, it was for chocolates. 

" I did not ! ' snapped Mollie. Her own fail- 
ing was an occasional burst of temper. She had 
French blood in her veins and not of French 
lilac shade, either, as Betty used to say. It was 



A GRAND SURPRISE 3 

of no uncertain color was Mollie's temper at 
times. 

" Yes, you did! *' insisted Grace. " Don't you 
remember? It was one with a cherry inside, 
and we both wanted it, and " 

"You got it!" declared Mollie. "If you say 
I took it " 

" That's right, Grace, you did have it," said 
gentle Amy. " Don't you recall, you held it in 
one hand behind your back and told Billy to 
choose?' Billy was Mollie's "chummy" name. 

"That's so," admitted Grace. "And Mollie 
didn't guess right. I beg your pardon, Mollie. 
It's so warm, and the prickly heat bothers me so 
that I can hardly think of anything but that I'm 
going in and get some talcum powder. I've got 
some of the loveliest scent the Yamma-yamma 
flower from Japan." 

" It sounds nice," murmured Betty. " But, 
girls " 

" Excuse me," murmured Grace, making a 
struggle to arise from the hammock never a 
graceful feat for girl or woman. 

"Don't! You'll spill me!" screamed Betty, 
clutching at the yielding sides of the net. 
"Grace! There!" 

There would have been a " spill ' except that 
Amy caught the swaying hammock and held it 



4 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

until Grace managed, more or \& s " gracelessly," 
to get out. 

" There's the empty box," she remarked, as it 
was disclosed where it had lain hidden between 
herself and Betty. " Not a crumb left, Amy, 
my dear. But I fancy I have a fresh box in the 
house, if Will hasn't found them. He's always 
snooping, if you'll pardon my slang." 

" I wasn't looking for candy," replied Amy. 
"It's my handkerchief that new lace one; I 
fancied I left it in the hammock." 

" Wait, I'll get up," said Betty. " Don't you 
dare let go, Amy. I don't see why I'm so foolish 
as to wear this tight skirt. We didn't bother 
with such style when we were off on our walking 
tour." 

" Oh, blessed tour ! " sighed Mollie. " I wisfi 
we could go on another one to the North Pole," 
and she vigorously fanned herself with a maga- 
zine cover. 

Betty rose, and Amy found what she was look- 
ing for. Grace walked slowly over the shaded 
lawn toward her house, at which the three chums 
had gathered this beautiful if too warm July 
day. Betty, Amy, and Mollie made a simulta- 
neous dive for the hammock, and managed, all 
three, to squeeze into it, with Betty in the middle. 

"Oh, dear!" she cried. "This is too much! 



A GRAND SURPRISE 5 

Let me out, and you girls can have it to your- 
selves. Besides, I want to talk, and I can't do it 
sitting down very well." 

" You used to," observed Amy, smoothing out 
her rather crumpled dress, and making dabs it 
her warm face with the newly discov^^d hand- 
kerchief. 

" The kind of talking I'm going to do now calls 
for action * business/ as the stage people call 
it," explained Betty. " I want to walk around 
and swing my arms. Besides, I can't properly 
do justice to the subject sitting down. Oh, girls, 
I've got the grandest surprise for you ! ' Her 
eyes sparkled and her cheeks glowed; she seemed 
electriftd with some piece of news. 

"1 fiat's what you said when you first came," 
spoke Mollie, " but we seemed to get off the 
track. Start over, Betty, that's a dear, and tell 
us all about it. Take that willow chair," and 
Billy pointed to an artistic green one that har- 
monized delightfully with the grass, and the gray 
bark of an apple tree against which it was drawn. 

* No, I'm going to stand up," went on Betty. 
" Anyhow, I don't want to start until Grace 
comes back. I detest telling a thing over twice." 

" If Grace can't find that box of chocolates 
she'll most likely run down to the store for an- 
other," said Amy. 



6 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

' And that means we won't hear the surprise 
for ever so long," said Mollie. " Go on, Bet, tell 
us, and we'll retail it to Grace when she comes. 
That will get rid of your objection," and Mollie 
tucked back several locks of her pretty hair that 
had strayed loose when the vigorous hammock- 
action took place. 

" No, I'd rather tell it to you all together," 
insisted Betty, with a shake of her head. " It 
wouldn't be fair to Grace to tell it to you two 
first. We'll wait." 

" I'll go in and ask her to hurry," ventured 
Amy. She was always willing to do what she 
could to promote peace, harmony, and general 
good feeling. If ever anyone wanted anything 
done, Amy was generally the first to volun- 
teer. 

" There's no great hurry," said Betty, " though 
from the way I rushed over here you might 
think so. But really, it is the grandest thing! 
Oh, girls, such a time as may be ahead of us 
this summer! " and she pretended to hug herself 
in delight. 

" Betty Nelson, you've just got to tell us ! " in- 
sisted Mollie. " Look out, Amy, I'm going to 
get up." 

Getting up from a hammock or doing any- 
thing vigorous, for that matter was always a 
serious business with quick Mollie. She gener- 



A GRAND SURPRISE 



ally warned her friends not to " stand too close." 

" Never mind, here comes Grace," interrupted 
Amy. "Do sit still, Mollie; it's too warm to 
juggle or is it jiggle? around so." 

" Make it wiggle," suggested Betty. 

" Do hurry, Grace," called Mollie. " We can't 
hear about the grand surprise until you get here, 
and we're both just dying to know what it is." 

" I couldn't find my chocolates," said Grace, as 
she strolled gracefully up, making the most of her 
slender figure. " I just know Will took them. 
Isn't he horrid ! " 

"Never mind, did you bring the talcum?' 
asked Amy. " We can sprinkle it on green 
apples and pretend it's fruit glace." 

" Don't you dare suggest such a thing when my 
little twins come along, as they're sure to do, 
sooner or later," spoke Mollie, referring to her 
brother and sister Paul and Dora or more 
often " Dodo," aged four. They were " regular 
tykes," whatever that is. Mollie said so, and 
she ought to know. "If you gave them that 
idea," she went on, " we'd have them both in the 
hospital. However, they're not likely to come 
to-day." 

" Why not?" asked Betty, for the twins had 
a habit of appearing most unexpectedly, and in 
the most out-of-the-way places. 

" They're over at Aunt Kittie's for the day, , 



8 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

and I told mamma I shouldn't mind if she kept 
them a week." 

"Oh, the dears !" murmured Amy. 

You wouldn't say so if you saw how they 
upset my room yesterday. I like a little peace 
and quietness/' exclaimed Mollie. " I love Paul 
and Dodo, but " and she shrugged her shoul- 
ders effectively, as only the French can. 

' Here's the talcum," spoke Grace. ' I'm sorry 
about the chocolates. Wait until I see Will," and 
she shook an imaginary brother. 

" Never mind, dear, it's too hot for candies, 
anyhow," consoled Betty. " Pass the talcum," 
and she reached for the box that Mollie was then 
using. " It has the most delightful odor, Grace. 
Where did you get it? ' 

" It's a new sample lot Harrison's pharmacy 
got in. Mr. Harrison gave me a box to try, and 
said " 

' He wanted you to recommend it to your 
friends, I've no doubt," remarked Mollie. 

" He didn't say so, but I haven't any hesita- 
tion in doing so. I just love it." 

' It is nice," said Amy. " I'm going to get 
some the next time I go down town." 

The spicy scent of the perfumed talcum pow- 
der mingled with the odor of the grass, the trees, 
and the flowers, over which the bees were hum- 
ming. 



A GRAND SURPRISE, 9 

" Come, come, Betty! " exclaimed Mollie, vig- 
orously, when shining noses had been rendered 
immune from the effects of the sun, ' when do 
we hear that wonderful secret of yours?' 

"Right away! Make yourselves comfortable. 
I'm going to walk about, and get the proper ac- 
tion to go with the words. Now, what did I do 
with that letter?' and she looked in her 
belt, up her sleeve, and in the folds of her 
waist. 

" Gracious, I hope I haven't lost it ! ' she ex- 
claimed, glancing about, anxiously. 

"Was it only a letter?' asked Mollie, some- 
thing of disappointment manifesting itself in her 
tones. 

" Only a letter ! " repeated Betty, with proper 
emphasis. " Well, I like the way you say that ! 
It isn't a common letter, by any means." 

" Is it from that queer Mr. Blackford, whose 
five hundred dollar bill we found when we were 
on our walking trip? ' asked Amy, with strange 
recollections of that queer occurrence. 

" No, it was from my uncle, Amos Marlin, a 
former sea captain," was the answer, " A most 
quaint and delightful character, as you'll all say 
when you meet him." 

" Then we are going to meet him? " interjected 
Grace, questioningly. 

" Yes, he's coming to pay me a visit." 



10 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

" Was that the grand surprise? " Amy wanted 
to know. 

"Indeed not. Oh, there's the letter," and 
Betty caught up a piece of paper from under- 
neath the hammock. " I'll read it to you. It's 
quite funny, and in it he says he's going to give 
me the grandest surprise that ever a girl had. 
It " 

"But what is the surprise itself?' inquired 
Mollie. 

" Oh, he didn't say exactly," spoke Betty, 
smoothing out the letter. " But I know, from 
the way he writes, that it will be quite wonder- 
ful. Everything Uncle Amos does is wonderful. 
He's quite rich, and " 

" Hark ! " exclaimed Amy. 

A voice was calling: 

" Miss Ford ! Miss Ford ! " 

"Yes, Nellie, what is it?" asked Grace, as 
she saw a maid coming towards her, beckoning. 

"Your brother wants you on the telephone, 
Miss Ford," answered the maid, " he says it's 
quite important, and he wants you to please 
hurry." 

" Excuse me," flung back Grace, as she hurried 
off. " I'll be back in a minute. I hope he's 
going to confess where he put those chocolates." 



CHAPTER II 

AFTER THE PAPERS 



' HELLO, is this you, Will? 1 
"Yes, this is Grace. What did you do with 

my chocolates? The girls are here, and . 

Never mind about the chocolates? The idea! I 

like . What's that? You want to go to the 

ball game? Will I do your errand for you? 
Yes, I'm listening. Go on ! ' 

" It's this way, Sis," explained Will over the 
wire from a down-town drug store. "This 
morning dad told me to go over to grandmother's 
and get those papers. You know; the ones in 
that big property deal which has been hanging 
fire so long. Grandmother has the papers in her 
safe. The deal is to be closed to-day. I prom- 
ised dad I'd go, but I forgot all about it, and 
now the fellows want me to go to the ball game 
with them. 

"If you'll go over to grandmother's and get 

the papers I'll buy you a two-pound box of the 

ii 



12 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

best chocolates honest, I will. And you can 
get the papers as well as I can. Grandmother 
expects one of the family over after them to- 
day, and she has them all ready. 

" You can go just as well as I can better, iri 
fact, and dad won't care as long as he gets the 
papers. You're to take them to his office. Will 
you do it for me, Sis? Come on, now, be a 
sport, and say yes." 

" But it's so hot, and Betty, Amy, and Mollie 
are here with me. I don't want to go all the way 
over to grandmother's after some tiresome old 
papers. Besides, it was your errand, anyhow." 

" I know it, Sis, but I don't want to miss that 
game. It's going to be a dandy! Come on, go 
for me, that's a good fellow. I'll make it three 
pounds." 

" No, I'm not going. Besides, it looks like a 
thunder storm." 

" Say, Sis, will you go if I let you ride 
Prince?" 

"Your new horse?" asked Grace, eagerly. 

"Yes, you may ride Prince," came over the 
wire. Will was a good horseman, but for some 
time had to be content with rather an ordinary 
steed. Lately he had prevailed on his father to 
get him a new one, and Prince, a pure white 
animal, of great beauty, had been secured. It 



AFTER THE PAPERS 

was gentle, but spirited, and had great speed. 
Grace rode well, but her mount did not suit her, 
and Mr. Ford did not want to get another just 
then. Will never allowed his sister to more 
than try Prince around the yard, but she was 
ager to go for a long canter with the noble 
animal. Now was the chance she had waited 
for so long. 

" You must want to see that ball game awfully 
bad, to lend me Prince," said Grace. 

" I do," answered Will. " But be careful of 
him Don't let him have his head too much or 
he'll bolt. But there's not a mean streak in him." 

" Oh, I know that I can manage." 



: Then you'll get those papers from grand- 
mother for me, and take them to dad?' 

" Yes, I guess so, though I don't like leaving 
the girls." 

"Oh, you can explain it to them. An'd you 
an 'phone down for the chocolates and have 
them sent up. Charge them to me. The girls 
can chew on them until you come back. It won't 
take you long on Prince. And say, listen, Sis ! ' 

" Yes, go on." 

"Those papers are pretty valuable, dad said. 
There are other parties interested in this deal, and 
if they got hold' of the documents it might make 
a lot of trouble." 



I 4 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

"Trouble?" 

" Yes. But there's not much chance of that. 
They don't even know where the papers are." 

" All right, I'll get them. Have a good time 
at the game, Billy boy." 

'I will, and look out for Prince. So long!' 
and Will hung up the receiver, while Grace over 
the private wire, telephoned to the groom to sad- 
dle Prince. Then she went out to tell her friends 
of her little trip. 

And while she is doing this, I will interject 
a few words of explanation so that those who did 
not read the first volume of this series may have 
a better understanding of the characters and loca- 
tion of this story. 

The first book was called " The Outdoor Girls 
of Deepdale; Or, Camping and Tramping for 
Fun and Health." In that is given an account of 
how the four chums set off to walk about two 
hundred miles in two weeks, stopping nights at 
the homes of various friends and relatives on the 
route. At the very outset they stumbled on the 
mystery of a five hundred dollar bill, and it was 
not until the end that the strange affair was 
cleared up most unexpectedly. 

The four girls were Betty Nelson, a born 
leader, bright, vigorous and with more than her 
share of common sense. She was the daughter 



AFTER THE PAPERS 15 

of Charles Nelson, a wealthy carpet manufac- 
turer. Grace Ford, tall, willowly, and exceed- 
ingly pretty, was blessed with well-to-do parents. 
Mr. Ford being a lawyer of note, who handled 
many big cases. Mollie Billette, was just the op- 
posite type from Grace. Mollie was almost al- 
ways in action, Grace in repose. Mollie was 
dark, Grace fair. Mollie was quick-tempered 
Grace very slow to arouse. Perhaps it was the 
French blood in Mollie blood that showed even 
more plainly in her mother, a wealthy widow 
that accounted for this. Or perhaps it was the 
mischievous twins Dodo and Paul whose an- 
tics so often annoyed their older sister, that 
caused Mollie to " flare up " at times. 

Amy Stonington was concerned in a mystery 
that she hoped would some day be unraveled. 
For years she had believed that John and Sarah 
Stonington were her father and mother, but in 
the first book I related how she was given to un- 
derstand differently. 

It appears that, when she was a baby, ~Amy 
lived in a Western city. There came a flood, 
and she was picked up on some wreckage. 
There was a note pinned to her baby dress or, 
rather an envelope that had contained a note, 
and this was addressed to Mrs. Stonington. 
5i\my's mother was Mrs. Stonington's aunt, 



16 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

though the two had not seen eacn other in many 
years. 

Whether Amy's parents perished in the flood, 
as seemed likely, or what became of them, was 
never known, nor was it known whether there 
were any other children. But Mr. Stonington, 
after the flood, was telegraphed for, and came 
to get Amy. He and his wife had kept her 
ever since, and shortly before this story opens 
they had told her of the mystery surrounding her. 
Of course it was a great shock to poor Amy, 
but she bore it bravely. She called Mr. and 
Mrs. Stonington " uncle " and " aunt " after that. 

I described Deepdale and its surroundings in 
the previous book, so I will make no more than 
a passing reference to it here. Sufficient to say 
that the town nestled in a bend of the Argono 
River, a few miles above where that stream wid- 
ened out into beautiful and picturesque Rainbow 
Lake. Then the river continued on its way 
again, increasing into quite> a large body of water. 
On the river and lake plied many pleasure craft, 
and some built for trade, in which they competed 
with a railroad that connected with the main line 
to New York. In Rainbow Lake were a number 
of islands, the largest Triangle obviously so 
called, being quite a summer resort. 

Our four girls lived near each other in fine 



AFTER THE PAPERS 17 

residences, that of Mollie's mother being on the 
bank of the river. Deepdale was a thriving com- 
munity, in the midst of a fertile farming section. 

The summer sun glinted in alternate shadows 
and brilliant patches on Grace Ford as she hurried 
out to her friends on the lawn, after receiving 
the message from her brother Will. 

"What happened?' asked Mollie, for it was 
evident from the expression on the face of the 
approaching girl that something out of the or- 
dinary had been the import of the message. 

" Oh, it was Will. He " 

" Did he ' fess up ' about the chocolates? ' in- 
quired Mollie. 

" No, but he's going to treat us to a three- 
pound box. I 'phoned do\vn for them. They'll 
be here soon, and you girls can enjoy them while 
I'm gone." 

"Gone!" echoed Betty, blankly. "Where 
are you going, pray tell ? ' 

" Oh, Will forgot to do something father told 
him to, and he wants me to do it for him. Get 
some rather important papers from Grandmother 
Ford. I'm going to ride Prince. I wish you all 
could come. Will you be angry if I run away for 
a little while? I shan't be more than an hour." 

"Angry? Of course not," said Akiy, gently. 
"Besides, it's important; isn't it?' 



18 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT. RAINBOW LAKE, 

" I imagine so, from what Will said. But He; 
has the baseball fever, and there's no cure for it. 
So if you don't mind I'll just slip into my habit, 
and canter over. Oh, I just love Prince! He's 
the finest horse I ' 

" I'm afraid of horses," confessed Amy. 

" I'm not ! " declared Betty, who was fond of 
all sports, and who had fully earned her title 
of " Little Captain," which she was often called. 
" Some day I'm going to prevail on daddy to 
get me one." 

" I should think you'd rather have an auto," 
spoke Mollie. 

" I may, some day," murmured Betty. ' But 
hurry along, Grace. It looks as though it might 
storm. We'll save some of the candy for you." 

" You'd better ! " 

The chocolates came before Grace was ready 
to start after the papers, for she discovered a 
rent in her skirt and it had to be mended. Then, 
too, Prince proved a little more restive than had 
been anticipated, from not having been out in 
two days, and the groom suggested that he take 
the animal up and down the road on a sharp 
gallop to give the excess spirit a chance to be 
worked off. So Grace saw to it that she had at 
least part of her share of chocolates before she 
left. 



AFTER THE PAPERS 19 

"And I have just time to hear the rest about 
the grand surprise," she said to Betty, who had 
been turning and creasing in her hand the letter 
her uncle had written. 

" I'm afraid I can't go as much into detail as 
I thought I could/' confessed Betty. " But I'll 
read you the letter my old sea-captain uncle sent 
me. It begins : ' In port; longitude whatever yotj 
like, and latitude an ice cream soda.' Then he 
goes on : 

" ' Dear messmate. Years ago, when you first 
signed papers to voyage through life, when you 
weren't rated as an A. B., you used to have 
me spin sea-yarns for you. And you always 
said you were going to be a sailor, shiver my 
timbers, or something like that, real sailor-like, 
so it sounded. 

" ' I never forgot this, and I always counted 
on taking you on a voyage with me. But your 
captain that is to say your father never would 
let me, and often the barometer went away down 
between him and me. 

" ' Howsomever, I haven't forgotton how you 
liked the water, nor how much you wanted a big 
ship of your own. You used to make me promise 
that if ever I could tow the Flying Dutchman 
into port that you could have it for a toy. And 
I promised. 



20 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

" l Well, now I have the chance to get the 
Flying Dutchman for you, and I'm bringing it 
home, with sails furled so it won't get away. I'm 
going to give you a grand surprise soon, and you 
can pass it on to your friends. So if you let me 
luff along for a few more cable lengths I think I'll 
make port soon, and then we'll see what sort of a 
sailor you'll make. You may expect the surprise 
shortly.' 

"That's all there is to it," concluded Betty, 
" and I've been puzzling my brains as to just what 
the surprise may be." 

" He's going to take you on a voyage," said 
Amy. 

" He's bought you some toy ship," was tHe 
opinion of Mollie. 

" Oh, if he'd only bring a real boat that we 
could make real a trip in! " sighed Grace. " That 
would be lovely ! ' 

"Betty Nelson! Write to your uncle right 
away ! " commanded Mollie, " and find out ex- 
actly what he means." 

" I can't," sighed Betty. " He's traveling, and 
one never knows where he is. We'll just have to 
wait. Besides, he is so peculiar that he'd just 
as likely as not only puzzle me the more. We'll 
just have to wait; that's all." 

"Well, if it should be some sort of a boat 



AFTER THE PAPERS 21 

even a big rowboat, we could have some fun," 
asserted Grace. 

" Yes, for mine isn't much account/' remarked 
Mollie, who owned a small skiff on the river. 

" I was so excited and amused when I got 
uncle's letter," said Betty, "that I didn't know 
what to do. Mamma puzzled over it, but she 
couldn't make any more out of it than I could. 
So I decided to come over here." 

" I'm glad you did," spoke Grace, holding up 
her long habit in one hand and delicately eat- 
ing a chocolate from the other. " There comes 
James with Prince. Oh, he's run him too hard ! ' 
she exclaimed as she noted the hard-breathing 
animal. 

" Oh, no, Miss," said the groom, who heard 
her. " That was only a romp for him. He'll 
be much easier to handle now." 

He gave Grace a hand to help Her mount to 
the saddle, and adjusted the stirrups for her. 

" Good-bye ! ' she called, as she cantered off. 
" Save some of the chocolates for me," and the 
others laughingly promised, as they went back to 
the shade, to rest in the hammock or lawn chairs. 



CHAPTER III 

THE RUNAWAY 

GRACE cantered along the pleasant country road 
on the back of Prince. The noble animal had lost 
some of his fiery eagerness to cover the whole 
earth in one jump, and now was mindful of 
snaffle and curb, the latter of which Grace always 
applied with gentle hand. Prince seemed to: 
know this, for he behaved in such style as not 
to need the cruel gripping, which so many horse- 
men and horsewomen too, for that matter^* 
needlessly inflict. 

" Oh, but it is glorious to ride ! ' exclaimed 
the girl, as she urged the animal into a gallop 
on a soft stretch of road beneath wonderful trees 
that interlaced their branches overhead. " Glori- 
ous glorious ! ' 

" I hope those papers are not so valuable that 
it would be an object for for some one to try 
to take them away from me," she mused. In- 
stinctively she glanced behind her, but the peace- 

22 



THE RUNAWAY 

ful road was deserted save for the sunshine and 
shadows playing tag in the dust. Then Grace 
looked above. The sky was of rather a somber 
tint, that seemed to suggest a storm to come, 
and there was a sultriness and a silence, with so 
little wind that it might indicate a coming distur- 
bance of the elements to restore the balance that 
now seemed so much on one side. 

" But if any one tries to get them away from 
us, we we'll just run away; won't we, 
Prince?' and she patted the neck of the horse. 
Prince whinnied acquiescence. 

" Grandmother will be surprised to see me," 
thought Grace, as she rode on. " But I'm glad 
I can do as well as Will in business matters. I 
hope papa won't be too severe with Will for not 
attending to this himself." 

She passed a drinking trough a great log 
hollowed out, into which poured a stream of lim- 
pid water coming from a distant hill through S 
rude wooden pipe. It dripped over the mossyj 
green sides of the trough, and Prince stretched 
his muzzle eagerly toward it. 

* Of course you shall have a drink ! " exclaimed 
Grace, as she let him have his head. Then she 
felt thirsty herself, and looked about for some- 
thing that would serve as a mounting block, in 
case she got down. She saw nothing near; but 



THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

a ragged, barefooted, freckled-faced and snub- 
nosed urchin, coming along just then, divined her 
desire. 

"Want a drink, lady?' he asked, smiling. 

" Yes," answered Grace, " but I have no cup." 

" I kin make ye one." 

Straightway he fashioned a natural flagon 
from a leaf of the wild grape vine that grew 
nearby, piercing the leaf with its own stem so 
that it formed a cup out of which a Druid might 
have quaffed ambrosia. 

" There's a cup," he said. " I allers makes 
'em that way when I wants a drink." He filled 
it from the running water and held it up. Grace 
drank thirstily, and asked for more. 

" And here is something for you," she said 
with a smile, as she passed down some chocolates 
she had slipped into a small pocket of her riding 
habit. 

"Say, is it Christmas, or Fourth of July?' 
gasped the urchin as he accepted them. " Thanks t 
lady." 

Grace again smiled down at him, and Prince, 
having dipped his muzzle into the cool water 
again, for very pleasure in having all he wanted, 
swung about and trotted on. 

The distance was not long now, and Grace, 
noting the gathering clouds, was glad of it. 



THE RUNAWAY 25 

"I'm sure I don't want to be caught in a 
storm," she said. "This stuff shrinks so," and 
she glanced down at her velvet skirt. " I wouldn't 
have it made up again. I hope the storm doesn't 
spoil Will's ball game." 

She urged Prince to a faster pace, and, can- 
tering along a quiet stretch of road, was soon 
at the nome of Mr. Ford's mother. 

" Why Grace ! ' exclaimed the elderly lady, 
" I expected Will to come over. Your father 
said " 

" I know, grandma, but Will well, he is wild 
about baseball, and I said I'd come for him." 

" That was good of you." 

" Oh, no it wasn't. I don't deserve any praise. 
Chocolates and Prince a big bribe, grandma." 

" Oh, you young folks ! Well, come in. 
Thomas will see to Prince." 

"I can't stay long." 

" No, I suppose not. Your father wanted 
these papers in a hurry. He would have come 
himself, but he had some matters to attend to. 
And, its being rather a family affair, he did not 
want to send one of his law clerks. Those young 
men tattle so." 

" I wonder if tfiey are any worse than girls, 
grandma? ' 

"Oh, much much! But come in, and I will 



26 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

have Ellen make you a cup of tea. It is refresh- 
ing on a hot day. Then I will get you the papers. 
It is very warm." 

" Yes, I think we will have a shower." 

" Then I must not keep you. Is everyone 
well ? " 

"Yes. How have you been?* 

" Oh, well enough for an old lady." 

"Old, grandma? I only hope I look as nice 
as you when I get " 

" Now, my dear, no flattery. I had my share 
of that when I was younger, though I must say 
your grandfather knew how to turn a compliment 
to perfection. Ah, my dear, there are not many 
like him now-a-days. Not many ! ' and she 
sighed. 

Tea was served in the quaint old dining room* 
for Mrs. Ford, though keeping up many old cus* 
toms, had adopted some modern ones, and hef 
house was perfection itself. 

" I suppose your brother told you these papers 
were rather valuable; did he not?' asked Mrs. 
Ford a little later, as she brought Grace a rather 
bulky package. 

" Yes, grandma." 

" And if they should happen to fall into btHer 
hands it might make trouble at least for a 
time." 



THE RUNAWAY 



Yes. I will take good care of them." 

"How can you carry them?' 

" In the saddle. Will had pockets, made es- 
pecially for his needs. They will fit nicely. I 
looked before starting out." 

" Very good. Then I won't keep you. Trot 
along. It does look as though we would have a 
storm. I hope you get back before it breaks. I 
would ask you to stay, but I know your father 
is waiting for those papers." 

" Yes, Will said he wanted them quickly. Oh, 
well, I think I can out-race the storm," and Grace 
laughed. 

She found that she really would have to race 
when, a little later, out on the main road, the 
distant rumble of thunder was heard. 

" Come, Prince ! ' she called. " We must see 
what we can do. Your best foot foremost, old 
fellow ! ' The horse whinnied in answer, and 
swung into an easy gallop that covered the ground 
well. 

The clouds gathered thicker and faster. Now 
and then their black masses would be split by 
jagged flashes of lightning, that presaged the 
rumbling report of heaven's artillery which 
seemed drawing nearer to engage in the battle of 
the sky. 

" Prince, we are going to get wet, I'm very 



28 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

much afraid," Grace exclaimed. " And yet 
well, we'll try a little faster pace ! ' 

She touched the animal lightly with the crop, 
and he fairly leaped into greater speed. But it 
was only too evident that they could not escape 
the storm. The clouds were more lowering now, 
and the bursts of thunder followed more quickly 
on the heels of the lightning flashes. Then came 
a few angry dashes of rain, as though to give 
sample of what was to follow. 

'Come, Prince!'' cried Grace. 

Suddenly from behind there came another 
sound. It was the deep staccato of the exhaust 
of an automobile, with opened muffler. It was 
tearing along the road. 

Grace glanced back and saw a low, dust-cov- 
ered racing car, rakish and low-hung, swinging 
along. It was evident that the occupants two 
young men were putting on speed to get to some 
shelter before the storm broke in all its fury. 

Prince jumped nervously and shied to one side 
at the sound of the on-coming car. 

" Quiet, old fellow," said Grace, soothingly. 

The car shot past her, and at the same moment 
Prince waltzed to one side, or else the car swerved, 
so that only by the narrowest margin was a ter- 
rible accident averted. Grace heard the men 
shout, and there was a wilder burst of the opened 



THE RUNAWAY 29 

muffler. Then she felt a shock, and she knew 
that the machine had struck and grazed Prince. 

She glanced down and saw a red streak on his 
off fore shoulder. He had been cut by some part 
of the car. 

The next moment, as the racing auto swung 
out of sight around a bend in the road, Prince 
took the bit in his teeth and bolted. With all 
her strength Grace reined him in, but he was 
wildly frightened. She felt herself slipping from 
the saddle. 

" Prince ! Prince ! ' sHe cried, bracing Herself 
in the stirrups, and gripping the reins with all 
her might. " Prince ! Quiet, old fellow ! ' 

But Prince was now beyond the reasoning 
power of any human voice. The thunder rum- 
bled and crashed overhead. Grace, above if, 
could hear the whining decrease of the exhaust 
of the big car that had caused her steed to run 
away. 

" Prince ! Prince ! ' she pleaded. 

He did not heed. Farther and farther sHe 
silpped from the saddle as his wild plunges threw 
her out of it. Then there came a crash that 
seemed to mark the height of the storm. A great 
light shone in front of Grace. Myriads of stars 
clanced before her eyes. 

She flashed towards a house. From it ran two 



30 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

little tots, and, even in that terror she recognized 
them as Dodo and Paul, the two Billette twins. 
They were visiting a relative who lived on this 
road, she dimly recalled hearing Mollie say. 
Evidently the children had run out in the storm. 
A nursemaid caught Paul, but Dodo eluded the 
girl, and ran straight for the road along which 
Grace was plunging. 

" Go back ! Go back ! ' ' screamed Grace. " Go 
back, Dodo ! " 

But Dodo came on. The next moment the 
child seemed to be beneath the feet of the mad- 
dened horse, which, a second later, slipped and 
fell, throwing Grace heavily. Her senses left 
her. All was black, and the rain pelted down 
while the lightning flashed and the thunder 
rumbled and roared. 



CHATTEMT 

THE MISSING DOCUMENTS 

" How do you feel now ? Do you think 
can drink a little of this? J 

Faintly Grace heard these words, as though' 
some one, miles away, was repeating them 
through a heavy fog. Myriads of bells seemed 
ringing in her ears, and her whole body felt 
as though made of lead. Then she became con- 
scious of shooting pains. Her head ached, there 
was a roaring in it. This was followed by 
delicious drowsiness. 

"Try and take a little of this. The doctor 
does not think you are badly hurt. Fortunately 
the horse did not fall on you." 

Again it seemed as though the voice came from 
the distant clouds. 

Grace tried to think to reason out where she 
was, and discover what had happened; but when 
she did, that same ringing of bells sounded in her 
ears, her head ached and she felt she was losing 
that much-to-be desired drowsiness. 

31 



THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 



Try and take it." 

She felt some one raise her head, supporting 
her shoulders. She struggled with herself, re- 
solving not to give way to that lethargy. She 
opened her eyes with an effort, and looked about 
her in wonder. She was in a strange room, and 
a strange woman was bending over her, holding 
a glass of some pleasant-scented liquid. 

" There, you have roused up, my dear, try 
to fo ke this," said the woman, with a smile. 
"The doctor will be back to see you in a little 
while." 

" The doctor," stammered Grace. * Am I 
hurt? What happened? Oh, I remember, Prince 
was frightened by the auto, and ran away. 
Where is he?' she asked in sudden teiror, as a 
thought came to her. 

" He got up and ran off after he fell with" 
you," said the woman, as she held the glass for 
Grace to drink. "We had no time to try and 
catch him, for there were others to attend to." 

" Oh, but Prince must be caught! " cried Grace, 
trying to rise from the couch on which she was 
lying, but finding it too much of an effort. 

" He will be, my dear," said the woman. 
" Don't fret about the horse. He did not seem 
to be hurt." 

: 'Oh, it isn't so mucli Prince himself, tHougti 



THE MISSING bOCUMENTS 33 

Will would feel very badly if anything happened 
to him. It is " 

Then Grace recalled that to mention the papers 
in the saddle bag might not be wise, so she 
stopped. 

" There now, don't worry, my dear," spoke 
the woman, soothingly. " Some one will catch 
the horse." 

" Oh, he must be caught ! " cried Grace. " You 
say the doctor was here to see m , ? ' 

" Yes, we sent for one soon after a passing 
farmer carried you in here when you fell and 
fainted. You were lying out in the rain insen- 
sible. We managed to get off your wet dress, 
and I just slipped this dressing gown of mine on 
you." 

" You were very kind. I can't seem to thinK 
very clearly," and poor Grace put her hand to 
her head. 

" Then don't try, my dear: You'll be all right 
in a little while. Just rest. I'll see if the doctor 
can come to you now." 

" Why is he here in tfie house is some one 
else ill?" asked Grace, quickly. 

*' Yes, my dear. Poor little Dodo was knocked 
8own by the horse, and we fear is badly hurt." 

"Dodo?" and the voice of Grace fairly rang 
at the name. 



34 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAK% 

" Yes, little Dora Billette. This is her aunt's 
house. She and her brother Paul are visiting 
here." 

" Yes, yes ! I know. They live near me in 
Deepdale. Their sister Mollie is one of my best 
friends. I am Grace Ford." 

" Oh yes, I know you now. I thought I recog- 
nized your face. I have seen you at Mollie's 
house. I am H distant relative. But rest your- 
self now, and the doctor will come to you as 
soon as he can. He has to attend to Dodo first, 
' the little dear ! " 

" Oh, Dodo, Dodo ! " cried Grace, much af- 
fected. "You poor little darling, and to think 
that it was my fault ! I must go to her. Mollie 
mill never forgive me ! ' 

She tried to rise. 

" Lie still," commanded the woman, but gently. 
" It was not your fault. I saw it all. The twins 
persisted in running out in the storm. The girl 
could not stop them. Dodo got away and ran 
directly for the horse." 

" Yes, I saw that. I thought sHe would be 
terribly hurt. Oh, to think it had to be I and 
Prince who did it ! ' 

" It was not at all your fault. If anyone is to 
blame it is those autoists for going so fast, and 
passing you so closely. There was no excuse 



THE MISSING DOCUMENTS 35 

for that. The road was plenty wide enough. 
And they scarcely stopped a moment after you 
went down, but hurried right on. They should 
be arrested ! ' 

" Oh, but poor Dodo ! poor Dodo ! " murmured 
Grace. " Is she much hurt ? ' 

"The doctor is not sure. He is afraid of 
internal injuries, and there seems to be something 
the matter with one of her legs. But we are hop- 
ing for the best. Here, take some more of this; 
the doctor left it for you." 

Grace was feeling easier now. Gradually H 
all came back to her ; how she had raced to gel i 
home before the storm broke the pursuing auto, 
the injured horse and then the heavy fall. She 
had no recollection of the passing farmer c^rry . 
ing her into the house. 

The doctor came into the room. 

: Well, how are we coming on ? ' he asked, 
cheerfully. " Ah, we have roused up I see," he 
went on, as he noted Grace sitting up. " I guess 
it is nothing serious after all. Just a bump on 
the head ; eh ? " and he smiled genially, as he took 
her hand. 

" Yes, I feel pretty well, except that my head 
' aches," said Grace, rather wanly. 

" I don't blame it. With that fall they say you 
got it is a wonder you have any head left," and 



36 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

he out out his hand to feel her pulse, nodding in 
a satisfied sort of way. 

"How how is little Dodo?' faltered Grace. 

Dr. Morrison did not answer at once. He 
seemed to be studying Grace. 

" How is she much hurt? " Grace asked again 

" Well, we will hope for the best," he answered 

as cheerfully as he could. " I can't say for sure, 
but her left leg isn't in the shape I'd like to see 

it. I am afraid the horse stepped on it. But 
there, don't worry. We will hope for the best." 
" Little Dodo's sister is my best chum," ex- 
plained Grace, the tears coming into her eyes. 
" Oh, when I saw her running toward Prince I 
thought I would faint! Poor little dear! I 
called to her, but she would not mind." 

" That was the trouble," explained Mrs. Wat- 
son, who had been ministering to Grace, 'she 

seemed just wild to get out in the rain." 

"Well, it may yet come out all right," said 
Dr. Morrison, "but it is not going to be easy. 
I don't believe you need me any more er " 

He paused suggestively. 

<e Miss Ford is my name," Grace supplied. 

"Ah, yes, I am glad to know you. Now I 
must go back to the little one." 

"Could I see her?" asked Grace, impulsively* ( 

" J Had rather not now." 



THE MISSING DOCUMENTS 37 

Grace caught her breath convulsively. It was 
worse than she had feared not to even see Dodo ! 

" But you can talk to Paul," went on the physi- 
cian. " Probably it will do him good to meet a 
friend. He is rather upset. His aunt, Mrs. 
Carr, with whom the children were staying for 
a few days, has telephoned to Mrs. Billette about 
the accident. Word came back that Nellie is 
that the name the larger sister =" 

" Mollie," said Grace. 

"Well, then, Mollie is to come to take Paul 
home. We cannot move Dodo yet." 

"Oh, is Mollie coming here?' 

" Yes. You can arrange to go home witfi Her 
if you like. I believe Mrs. Carr asked for a 
closed carriage." 

" Then, I will go home witH Mollie and Paul. 
Oh, will they ever forgive me? ' 

" It was not your fault at all ! ' insisted Mrs. 
Watson. " I saw the whole thing. Please don't 
worry." 

" No, you must not," said the physician. 
" Well, I will go back to my little patient," and 
he sighed, for even he was affected by Dodo's 
suffering. 

Grace sought out Paul, wfio was with his aunt, 
whom Grace knew slightly. Mrs. Carr greeted* 
her warmly, and put her arms about her in sym- 



38 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE \ 

pathy. Paul looked up at the familiar face and 
asked : 

" Oo dot any tandy ? " 

" No, dear," said Grace, gently, " but I'll get 
you some soon. Mollie will bring some, per- 
haps." 

With this promise Paul was content, and Mrs. 
Carr left him with Grace. 

Poor Grace ! With all the whirl that her head 
was in, feeling as wretched as she did, one thought 
was uppermost in her mind the papers in the 
saddlebag. So much might happen to the valu- 
able documents that were needed now this very , 
instant, perhaps by her father. She almost 
wanted to go out in the storm and search for 
Prince. 

" But perhaps he ran straight home to the 
stable," she reasoned. "In that case it will be 
all right, if only they think to go out and get 
them from the saddle, and take them to papa.. 
Oh, if only Will were home from that ball game., 
What can I do? Then telephone! They will be 
jworried when they see Prince come home, cut, 
and will think I am badly hurt. I must let them 
know at once." 

Mrs. Carr took Her unexpected guest to the 
telephone, and Grace was soon talking to her 
mother. 



THE MISSING DOCUMENTS 39 

"Don't worry, momsey," she said. " Prince 

ran away with me an auto hit him now don't 

faint, I am all right. I'm at Mollie's Aunt Kit- 

'tie's. Poor Dodo is hurt, I'll tell you about 

that later. But, listen. Go out to the stable 

I suppose Prince ran there: Get those papers 

from the saddle, and send them to papa at once. 

Grandma's papers. They are very important. 

What? Prince has not come home? Oh, what 

can have become of him? Those missing papers! 

Oh, telephone to papa at once ! He must do some- 

i thing," and Grace let the receiver fall from her 

i nerveless hand as she looked out into the storm. 

<The rain, after a long dry spell, was coming 

down furiously. 



CHAPTER V 

THE GEM 

GRACE and Mollie were riding home in tHe 
carriage that had been sent to bring Mrs. Bil- 
lette to the home of her relative, for the anx- 
ious mother, on hearing that Dodo could not be 
moved, had come to look after the injured child. 
Paul went home with his sister. He was munch- 
ing contentedly on some candy, and all thought 
of the recent accident and scare had vanished in 
the present small and sweet happiness. 

" Oh, it must have been perfectly dreadful, 
Grace," said Mollie, sympathetically. * Per- 
fectly terrible ! " 

" It was ! And are you sure you don't feel 
resentful toward me?' 

"The idea! Certainly not It was poor 
Dodo's fault, in a way; but I blame those mo- 
torists more than anyone else. They should be 
found." 

" They certainly made a lot of trouble/' a"d- 

40 



THE GEM, 41 

mitted Grace. " But I would rather find Prince 
than them. I wonder where he could have run 
to?" 

" Oh, probably not far, after he go? over 
being frightened. Doubtless you'll hear of his 
being found, and then you can send for him, and 
recover the papers." 

"If only the saddle doesn't come off, and get 
lost," said Grace. " That would be dreadful, for 
there would be no telling where to look for it." 

" Most likely it would be along some road. 
Prince would probably keep to the highways, and 
if the girth should break, and the saddle come 
off, it would be seen. Then, by the papers in 
the pockets, persons could tell to whom it be- 
longed." 

" That is just it. Papa doesn't want anyone 
to see those papers. Some of them have to be 
kept secret. Oh, I know he will feel dreadful 
about the loss, and so will Grandma! It was 
partly her property that was involved in the 
transaction." 

" But they can't blame you." 

" I hope not. I'll never be forgiven by Will 
'for letting Prince throw me and run away, 
though. He'll never let me take him again." 

" It was partly Will's fault for not doing the 
errand himself," declared Mollie, with energy. 



42 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE, , 

" Then this might not have happened. Of 
course I don't mean," she added hastily, " that I 
blame him in the least for what happened to 
Dodo. But I mean the papers might not have 
been lost, for he would likely have carried them 
in his coat pocket, and not in the saddle." 

" That is what I should have done, I sup- 
pose," spoke Grace with a sigh. " But my rid* 
ing habit had no pocket large enough. Oh, 
dear! I'm afraid it will be spoiled by the mud 
and rain," for she had left it at Mrs. Carr's and 
had borrowed a dress to wear home in the car- 
riage, a dress that was rather incongruous in 
conjunction with her riding boots and derby hat. ' 

" It can be cleaned," consoled Mollie. " No, 
Paul, not another bit of candy. Don't give him 
any, Grace. He'll be ill, and as I'll have to look 
after him when mamma is away I don't want to \ 
have it any harder than necessary." 

"Me ikes tandy," remarked Paul. "Dodo 
ikes tandy too. Why not Dodo come wif us?' 
His big eyes looked appealing at his sister, and 
her own filled with tears, while those of Grace 
(were not dry. 

" Poor little Dodo," said Mollie. Then with 
a smile, and brushing away her tears, she spoke 
more brightly, " but we must not be gloomy. I 
just know she will be all right." 



THE GEM, 43 



" 



I shall never cease praying that she 
spoke Grace, softly. 

They were splashing home through the mud. 
The rain was still coming down, but not so hard. 
The long, dry spell had broken, and it seemed 
that a continued wet one had set in. 

Grace was left at her house, where she found 
Amy and Betty ready to sympathize with her. 
Her father was there also, and Will. BotK 
looked grave. 

Seeing that family matters awaited discussion, 
Amy and Betty soon took their leave, after being 
assured that Grace was all right, except for a 
stiffness and a few cuts caused by the fall. A 
carriage took the two girls to their homes. Mollie 
had gone on with Paul. 

"What will happen if we can't find the pa- 
pers?" asked Grace of her father, when she had 
explained everything. 

" Well, there will be a lot of trouble," he said, 
"and of course the whole matter will have to be 
held up. In the meanwhile, even if the other in- 
terests do not get the documents, they may make 
it unpleasant for us. I wish, Will, that you had 
done this errand yourself not that I blame you, 
Grace," he said quickly, "but Will knew how 
Very important it was. 

" I'm very sorry, Dad. I'll never cut business 



44 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE. 

for a ball game again, and I'll do all I can tQ 
help out. I'm sure Prince will soon come home, 
though, and it will be all right. I'll go out to 
the stable now, and if he isn't there I'll saddle 
Toto and go hunting. I'll start from where the 
accident happened, and trace Prince. Lucky 
he's pure white; he'll show up well, even in the 
dark." 

" No, I don't want you to do that," objected 
Mr. Ford. " You may go to the stable, if you 
like, but don't start any search until morning. 
In the meanwhile we may hear something, or he 
may come back. It's too bad a night to go out. 
But let this be a lesson to you, Will." 

" I will ; yes, sir. Poor little Sis, I can't tell 
you how sorry I am. Are you much hurt? " and 
Will laid his hand tenderly on her head. She 
winced, for he had touched a bruised place. 

" Don't worry," she said, as brightly as she 
could. "I am all right, and the papers may be 
found. It is poor little Dodo I feel so badly 
about. She she may be a cripple, the doctor 
says." 

No!' exclaimed Will, aghast. 
It seems terrible, but that is his opinion.' 5 
Oh, they can do such wonderful things in 
surgery now a-days," said Mrs. Ford, " that I'm 
sure, in such a young child, there are many 



u 
a 

(C 



THE 'GEM. 45 

chances in her favor. Don't worry, daughter 
dear. Now you must go to bed, or you will be 
ill over this. Those motorists ought to be pun- 
ished, if any one is." 

" Yes," agreed Mr. For3. *' Now I must see 
what I can do to offset this loss. You don't sup- 
pose, do you Grace, that those men could have 
had any object in getting those papers away from 
you?" 

" What do you mean? " asked Grace, in won* 
derment 

" I mean, did they seem to follow you as if 
they had knowledge that the papers would be 
transferred to-day, and were determined to get 
them?" 

"I don't think so, Daddy. I'm sure they 
didn't follow me. They just seemed to corns 
out of the storm trying to get away from it--* 
as I was doing. I'm sure it was all an accident* 
just carelessness. 

" Very likely. I was foolish to suggest it, but 
so much depends on those papers that I don't 
know just what to think. But there, Grace," as 
he kissed her, "you must rest yourself. I will 
think of a way out, I'm sure. Will, come with 
me. I may need you to make some memoranda 
while I telephone," and he and his son went 
to the library. 



46 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

Morning did not see Prinoe in the stable, and 
all that day Will searched without result. Many 
had seen the white horse flying wildly past, but 
that was all. Some said the saddle was still 
on, others that it had come off. Mr. Ford was 
much exercised over the loss of the papers. 

He did what he could to hold back the busi- 
ness, but there was a prospect of loss and con- 
siderable trouble if the documents were not even- 
tually found. The opposing interests learned of 
the halt, and tried to take advantage of it. They 
were, however, only partly successful. 

In the meanwhile, after several days had 
passed, Dodo grew well enough to be brought 
home. The chief injury was to her leg, and 
there was grave danger of it being permanently 
lame. As soon as she was in better condition it 
was decided to have a noted specialist treat her. 

Prince remained missing, nor was there any 
report of the saddle being located, though Mr. 
Ford offered a liberal reward for that, or the re- 
turn of the horse. 

Betty had telephoned for her three friends. 
Her voice held in it the hint of pleasure and 
mystery both, but to all inquiries of what was 
wanted she returned only the answer: 

" Come and see. I want you to meet some 



one/ 



THE GEM 

It was two weeks after the accident, and, in a 
great measure, the bitter memories of it had 
passed . Dodo was doing as well as could be ex- 
pected, and, save for a slight limp, Grace had 
fully recovered. 

The three chums " graces " Will called them 
arrived at Betty's house at the same time. 
With sparkling eyes she led them into the parlor. 

1 But what is it? " whispered Amy. 
' If it's a strange young man, I'm not going 
to go and meet him/' said Mollie, with quick 
decision. 

" It's a man, but not young, and I think you'll 
be glad to meet him," answered Betty. 

Grace instinctively looked at her dress. 

"Oh, you're all right!" cried Betty. Tfiea 
she threw open the parlor door. " Here they 
are, Uncle Amos! " she cried, gaily, and the girls 
beheld a rather grizzled, elderly man, with 
tanned face and hands, and wrinkled cheeks, like 
an apple that has kept all winter, with the mer- 
riest blue eyes imaginable, and when he spoke 
there sounded the heartiest voice that could well 
fit into the rather small parlor. 

" Avast there ! ' he cried, as he saw the girls. 
*' So these are your consorts; eh, Bet? They do 
you proud! May I be keel-hauled if I've seen a 
prettier set of sails on a craft in a long while. 



48 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

It's good rigging good rigging," and he glanced 
particularly at the dresses. 

Betty presented her friends in turn, and Mr. 
Marlin had something odd to say to each as he 
shook hands heartily. 

"Uncle Amos has brought the surprise," 
said Betty. * But even yet he won't tell me 
what it is." 

'If I did it wouldn't be a surprise!' he pro- 
tested. ' But I'm all prepared to pilot you down 
to where she is. She's in the offing, all fitted for 
a cruise. All she needs is a captain and crew, 
and I think Bet here will be the one, and you girls 
the other. I may ship as cook or cabin boy, if 
you'll have me, but that is as may be. Now, if 
you're ready we'll go down to the dock and see 
how the tide is." 

" But we have no tide here, Uncle Amos," 
spoke Betty. 

" What! No tide! What sort of a place is it 
without a tide? I'm disappointed, lass, disap- 
pointed ! ' 

" We'll try and have one made for you," said 
Mollie, with a laugh. 

"That's it! That's the way to talk. Salt 
water and a tide would make any place, even a 
desert er er what is it I want to say, Bet?' 

" I don't know, Uncle, unless that it would 
make the desert blossom like the rose." 



THE GEM 49 

"That's it a rose. You luffed just at the 
right time. Well, ladies, all hands have been 
piped to quarters, so we'll start. It's nearly four 
bells, and I told the mate I'd be there by then. 
Let's start." 

And start they did. On the way toward the 
river, whither Mr. Marlin insisted on leading 
the girls, Betty explained how her uncle had 
arrived unexpectedly that day, and had talked 
mysteriously about the surprise. 

" It's a boat I'm sure it is," said Mollie. 

" Oh, he'd talk that same way about an auto- 
mobile or an airship," said Betty. " He calls 
everything, * she/ and if it was an auto he'd 
* anchor ' it near the river just to be close to 
the water he loves so much." 

"What if it's an airship?' asked Amy. 

*' I shall learn to run it ! ' declared Betty. 

> Never ! " 

" Yes I shall." 

** Let us hope it is Hut a rowboat then," sighed 
Amy. 

They went out on the public dock in the Ar- 
gono River. At the string piece was tied what 
the girls saw was one of the neatest motor boats 
that, as Will said afterward, " ever ate a gasoline 
sandwich." 

There was a trunk cabin, an ample cockpit at 
the stern, a little cooking galley, a powerful 



50 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

motor, complete fittings and everything that the 
most exacting motor boat enthusiast could de- 
sire. 

" There she is ! " cried Mr. Marlin. " There's 
the surprise, Bet. I got her for you! I named 
her the Gem for she is a gem. Aside from an 
ocean steamer there's no better boat built. I saw 
to it myself. I've been planning that for you for 
years. And there you are. The Gem is yours. 
I want you girls to take a cruise in her, and if 
you don't have a good time it will be your own 
fault. There's the Gem for you, Betty. Let's 
go aboard and see if that rascally mate has grub 
ready. There's the Gem!" and he led the way 
toward the beautiful boat. The girls simply 
gasped with delight, and Betty turned pale at 
least Grace said so. 



CHAPTER VI 

READY FOR A CRUISE 

" WHAT a pretty cabin ! ' cried Mollie. 

" And see the places to put things ! " exclaimed 
Betty. 

" Places to put things ! ' fairly snorted Mr. 
Marlin, or to give him his proper title, Captain 
Marlin. " Places ! Huh ! Lockers, young ladies ! 
Lockers! That's where you put things. The 
aft starboard locker, the for'd port locker. You 
must learn sea lingo if you're to cruise in the 
Gem" 

The girls were still aboard the new motor boat. 
They could not seem to leave it since Betty had 
been told that it was a gift from her uncle. 
They inspected every part, turned the wheel, 
daintily touched the shining motor, and 'even] 
tried the bunks. 

" There is room for five in the cabin/' sai3 
Betty, looking about. "If we wanted to take an- 



52 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE , 

other girl with us we could, when we go cruis- 
ing." 

* Or a chaperone," added Grace. " We may 
have to do that, you know." 

" Well, we can," admitted Betty. " The ques- 
tion is, shall we go on a cruise? ' 

' Ask us ! ' exclaimed Mollie with a laugh. 
" Just ask us ! " 

" I do ask you," retorted the little captain of 
the Gem. " Girls, you are hereby invited to ac- 
company me on a cruise to go Oh, where can 
we go ? ' 

1 To Rainbow Lake, of course/' said Grace, 
promptly. " We can go down the river into the 
lake, motor about it, go out into the lower river 
if we \vant to, camp on an island or two, if we 
like, and have a general good time." 

" That's the way to talk! " cried Captain Mar- 
lin. " And I'll come with you part of the time. 
There's some extra bunks back here maybe you 
didn't see," and he showed them three folding 
ones in the cockpit back of the trunk cabin, where 
awnings could be stretched in stormy weather, 
enclosing that part of the craft. 

' But what makes the boat go? '' asked gentle 
Amy. 

: The motor makes it 'mote/ spoke Betty. 
*' It's up in front ; isn't it, Uncle Amos ? " 



READY FOR A CRUISE 53 

" Up in front ! There you go again, Bet. Up 
in front ! You mean f or'ard ; up f or'ard ! ' 

" That's right, Uncle, I forgot. Come, we'll 
show these girls where the motor is," and she led 
the way to where the machinery was enclosed in 
a large compartment in the bow, close by hinged 
wing-covers. 

The motor, one of three cylinders, was a self- 
starter, but by means of a crank and chain could 
be started from the steering platform, just aft 
of the trunk cabin, in case of emergency. There 
was a clutch, so that the motor could be set in 
motion without starting the boat, until the clutch, 
set for forward or reverse motion, had been ad- 
justed, just as the motor of an automobile can 
be allowed to run without the car itself moving. 

" And what a dear little stove in the kitchen ! ' 
exclaimed Betty, as the girls looked in the cook- 
ing compartment it was not much more than a 
compartment . 

"Kitchen!" cried Captain Marlin. "That 
isn't a kitchen ! ' 

" What is it? " Amy wanted to know. 

"The galley, lass, the galley. That's where 
we cook aboard a ship, in the galley. There's 
an alcohol and oil stove combined. You can 
have chafing dish parties is that what you call 
them?" and he laughed. 



54 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 



That's right, Uncle," cried Betty. ' And 
see the what are we supposed to call these?' 
and she pointed to pots, pans, dishes and other 
utensils that hung around the galley. 

" Oh, call 'em galley truck, that's as good a 
name as any," said the old captain. " Do you 
like this, Bet?" 

" Like it, Uncle Amos ! It's the dearest little 
boat in the world. I don't deserve it. You are 
so good to get it for me, and it was such a sur- 
prise." 

" Yes, I calculated it would be a surprise, all 
right. But I didn't forget that you always 
wanted to be a sailor, and so when I got the 
chance, I made up my mind I'd get you some- 
thing worth while before I got sent to Davy 
Jones' locker." 

" Where is that? " asked Amy, innocently. 

"Oh, he means before he got drowned, or 
something like that," explained Betty. * Oh, 
Uncle Amos, you're a dear ! " and she kissed him,, 
somewhat to his confusion. 

" So I got a man to build this boat to suit my 
ideas," went on the old seaman. " It's equipped 
for salt water, if so be you should ever want to 
take a trip to sea." 

" Never ! ' cried Mollie. 

"Well, you never can tell," He said sagely. 



READY FOR A CRUISE, 55 

" After she was finished I had him ship her Sere, 
and then I got her into the water. I will say, 
that, for her size, she is a sweet little craft. 
And I hope you'll like her, Bet." 

"Like her! Who could help it? Uncle 



you re a 

" No more kissing, Bet. I'm too old for that." 

"The idea! Oh, girls, aren't the bunks top 
cute for anything ! ' ' and Betty sat down on one. 

"And the dining room may I call it that?" 
Grace timidly asked of the captain. 

" Well, saloon is a better word, but let it go," 
he murmured. " Now, what do you say to a 
little run down the river? It will give you an 
idea of how to handle her." 

"Oh, how lovely!" cried Betty. Let's go, 
girls." 

"That man is from the firm Hiat built the 
craft," went on the former sailor. " He'll show 
you all the wrinkles," and he motioned to a man 
standing near. 

Lines were cast off, the motor started, the clutcK 
thrown in and then, with Captain Betty at the 
wheel, her uncle standing near to instruct her, the 
Gem started down the stream, attracting not a 
little attention. 

" This is a sea wheel," explained the captain. 
" That is, you turn it the opposite way to what 



56 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

you want the boat to go. I wouldn't have a 
land-lubber's wheel on any boat I built. So don't 
forget, Bet, your boat shifts opposite to the way 
you turn the wheel." 

" I'll remember, Uncle." 

With dancing eyes and flushed faces, the girls 
sat in the cockpit back, or "aft," of the trunk 
cabin, and watched Betty steer. She did very 
well, for she had had some practice in a small 
motor boat the girls occasionally hired. 

" Oh, I couldn't have had anything in the 
world I wanted more than this ! ' she cried to 
her uncle. " It is just great ! ' 

"And you think you girls will go for a 
cruise?' 

"I am sure we will, and as soon as we can. 
It wiM be the very thing for the hot summer." 

"Wouldn't Will just love this?." sighed 
Grace. 

" Perhaps Betty will invite him and Allen 
Washburn and Percy Falconer to come along on 
a trip or two," said Mollie, with a wink at her 
chums as she mentioned Percy's name. The lat- 
ter was a foppish young man about town, who 
tried to be friendly with Betty; but she would 
have none of him. 

" Never Percy ! " she 3eclare'd. " I'll ask WU1, 
of course, and Frank Haley, but " 



READY FOR A CRUISE 

46 Not Allen ? ' inquired Amy, mischievously, 
r for it was no great secret that Betty really liked 
Allen, a young law student, and that he (was 
rather attentive to her. 

" Which way shall I steer to pass tfiat boat, 
Uncle?' asked Betty, to change a subject that 
was getting too personal. 

" Port/' he answered briefly. 

" And that is " she hesitated. 

"The left," he answered quickly. "It's easy 
if you think that the letter L comes before the 
ktter P and that L is the beginning of left Port 
means left, always." 

" I'm sure it's easy to say left and right," com- 
mented Grace, who was eating a chocolate. 

" Hum ! ' exclaimed the old captain, disap- 
provingly. 

The Gem proved worthy of her name. The 
girls made a little trip about the river, and then 
Captain Marlin, on learning that there was a boat 
house and dock on the property of Mollie's 
mother, steered the craft there, where it would be 
tied up until the girls started on their cruise. 

And that they would cruise was fully decided 
on in the next few days. Now that the great 
surprise was known, plans were made to spend 
some time on the lake and river in the new craft. 

The wonder and delight of it grew. Each day; 



58 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

the girls discovered something different about 
Betty's boat. It was most complete, and practi- 
cal. The boys were in transports over it, and 
when Will and his chum Frank Haley were al- 
lowed to steer they could not talk enough about 
it. 

Preparations for the cruise went on apace. 
Captain Marlin oversaw them at odd times, for 
he was in business, and made trips between New 
York and Deepdale. 

In the meanwhile Grace fully recovered from 
the runaway accident. Not so poor Dodo, how- 
ever, and it was feared that the little girl would 
have to be operated on. 

"When?" asked Betty, thinking that this 
would spoil Mollie's trip. 

"Oh, not for some time," was the answer. 
"They are going to try everything else first." 

Some of the mothers arranged to go along on 
part of the cruises, and other married ladies 
volunteered for the remaining days, so the girls 
would be properly chaperoned. Then began the 
final preparations. 

"And if you see anything of Prince on your 
wanderings, don't fail to catch hira" begged 
Will, a few nights before the day set for the 
start. 

" We will," promised Grace. 



READY FOR A CRUISE, 59 

The telephone rang they were all at Grace's 
house. She answered. 

"Yes, yes. This is Mr. Ford's residence. 
What's that you have a stray white horse? Oh, 
Will, maybe it's Prince! " and she turned eagerly 
to her brother. "A man from Randall's livery 
stable is on the wire. He says they have a white 
horse that was just brought in. A farmer says 
he found him wandering about the country. 
Hurry down there ! " 



CHAPTER VII 

STOWAWAYS 

"THEN he isn't your horse, Will?" 

It was Mr. Randall, the livery stable keeper 
Who asked this question as Grace's brother criti- 
cally inspected an animal that was led out for 
view in the stable. 

" No, that isn't Prince," was the answer. " He 
looks enough like him, though, to be his brother. 
I'm much obliged for calling me up." 

Will had hastened down after the receipt of 
the message Grace had taken over the telephone, 
for Randall's, as had all livery stables in the 
vicinity, had been notified to be on the lookout 
for the strangely missing animal, who might be 
wandering about the country carrying valuable 
documents in the saddle pocket. 

" Two young fellows drove in here with" this 
horse, and asked if they could put him up for 
a while," went on the livery man. " I didn't 
like the way they acted, but I didn't see how they; 
could do me any harm, so I said they could. 

60 



STOWAWAYS 

Then I got to thinking about your horse, and 1 
called up. I'm sorry to disappoint you." 

" I'm sorry myself, Mr. Randall I can't im- 
agine where Prince can be." 

" Oh, some one has him, you may be sure of 
that A valuable horse like that wouldn't go 
long without an owner. Maybe some one has 
changed his color dyed him, you know. That 
has been done. Of course the dye doesn't last 
forever, but in this case it might hold long enougH 
for the excitement to subside.'* 

"Well, if they'll send back trie papers, they 
can keep the horse, as much as I like Prince," 
spoke Will, as he started home to tell his sister 
and the girls the details of the unsuccessful trip. 
He had already briefly telephoned to them of his 
disappointment. 

" Oh, isn't it too bad ! " cried Grace, as Will 
came back. "Do you really think, Will, that 
some one has Prince and the papers? 3 

" It looks so, Sis. Has dad said anything 
lately ? " 

" No, I believe the other side hasn't done any- 
thing, either, which might go to show that they 
haven't the papers. But it's all so uncertain. 
Well, girls," and she turned to her guests, 'I 
guess we can finish talking about what we will 
Kvear." 



63 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

" Which means that I must become like a tree 
in Spring," sighed Will. 

"How is that?" asked Amy. "Is it a rid- 
dle?" 

" He means he must leave> that's an old one," 
mocked Mollie. "Any candy left, Grace?" and 
Mollie, who had been artistically posing on a 
divan, crossed the room to where Grace sat near 
a table strewn with books and papers, a box 
of chocolates occupying the place of honor. 

" Of course there are some left," answered 
Grace. 

: Which is a wonder ! ' exclaimed Will, as he 
hurried out of the room before his sister could 
properly punish him. 

" Will we wear our sailor costumes all the 
while?' asked Betty, for the girls, as soon as 
the cruise in the Gem had been decided on, had 
had suits made on the sailor pattern, with some 
distinctive changes according to their own ideas. 
Betty had been informally named * Captain," a 
title with which she was already more or less 
familiar. 

" Well, of course we'll wear our sailors > 
middy blouses and all while we're aboard 
ahem ! " exclaimed Betty, with exaggerated em- 
phasis. " Notice my sea terms," she directed. 

" Oh, you are getting to be a regular sailor," 



STOWAWAYS 63 

said Mollie. " I've got a book home with a lot 
of sea words in. I'm going to learn them, and 
also how to tie sailor knots." 

" Then maybe your shoe laces won't come un- 
done so easily," challenged Grace, and she thrust 
out her own dainty shoe, and tapped the patent 
leather tip of Mollie's tie. 

" It is not! " came indignantly from Billy. 

" It is loose, and it may trip you," advised 
Amy, and Mollie, relinquishing a candy she had 
selected with care, bent over. The moment she 
did so Grace appropriated the sweetmeat. 

" As I said," went on Betty, " we can wear 
our sailor suits when aboard. When we go 
ashore we can wear our other dresses." 

" I'm not going to take a lot of clothes," de- 
clared Grace, getting ready to defend herself 
against Mollie when the latter should have dis- 
covered the loss of the tidbit. " One reason we 
had such a good time on our 'hike,' was that we 
didn't have to bother with a lot of clothes. We 
shall enjoy ourselves much more, I think." 

" And I agree with you, my dear," said Betty. 
"Besides, we haven't room for many things ori 
the Gem. Not that I want to deprive you of 
anything," she added, quickly, for she realized 
her position as hostess. " But really, to be com- 
fortable, we don't want to be crowded, and if we 



64 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE, 

each take our smallest steamer trunk I think that 
will hold everything, and then we'll have so much 
more room. The trunks will go under the bunks 
yery nicely." 

"Then we'll agree to that," said Mollie. 
"Two sailor suits, so we can change; one nice 
shore dress, if we are asked anywhere, and one 
rough-and-ready suit for work or play." 

" Good ! " cried Amy. " As for shoes " 

" Who took my candy?" cried Mollie, discov- 
ering the loss of the one she had put down to 
tie her lace. " It was the only one in the box 
and 9 " 

Grace laughed, and thus acknowledged her 
guilt. 

" I've got another box up stairs," she said. 
" I'll get it," which she proceeded to do. 

" Grace, you'll ruin your digestion with so 
much sweet stuff," declared Betty, seriously. 
" Really you will." 

" I suppose so, my dear ; but really I can't seem 
to help it." 

" As captain of the Gem I'm going to put you 
on short rations, as soon as our cruise begins," 
said Betty. " It will do yor good." 

" Perhaps it will," Grace Admitted, with a sigh. 
" I'll be glad to have you do it. Now, is every- 
thing arranged for? ' 



STOWAWAYS 



Well," answered Betty, This is how it 
stands: We are to start on Tuesday, and motor 
clown the river, taking our time. Aunt Kate will 
go with us for the first few days, and, as you 
know, we have arranged for other chaperones 
on the rest of the cruise. We will eat aboard, 
"when we wish to, or go ashore for meals if it's 
more convenient. Of course we will sleep 
aboard, tying up wherever we can find the best 
place. 

" I plan to get to Rainbow Lake about the 
second day, and we will spend a week or so on 
that, visiting the different points of interest 
I'm talking like a guide book, I'm afraid," she 
apologized with a smile. 

" That's all right go on, Little Captain," said 
Amy. 

"Well, then, I tHougHt we might do a little 
camping on Triangle, or one of the other islands, 
say, for three or four days." 

" Don't camp on Triangle," suggested Grace. 
" There are too many people there, and we can't 
be free. There'd always be a lot of curious ones 
about, looking at our boat, and our things, and 
all that." 

"Very well, we can pick out some other is- 
land," agreed Betty. " You know there is to be 
a regatta, and water sports, on Rainbow Lake 



66 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

just about the time we get there, and we can take 
part, if we like.'* 

" Do! And if we can get in a race we will! ' 
cried Mollie, with sparkling eyes. 

" Uncle Amos has promised to be with us some 3 
of the time," went on Betty. " And I suppose 
we will have to invite the boys occasionally, ji;st 
for the day, you know." 

* Oh, don't make too much of an effort." ex- 
claimed Mollie. " Allen Washburn said he might 
be going abroad this summer, anyhow." 

"Who said anything about him? 1 demanded 
Betty, with a blush. 

" No one ; but I can read thoughts ! ' ans- 
wered Mollie, helping herself to another candy. 

" I meant Will and Frank," went on Betty. 
" They would like to come." 

" I'm sure of it," murmured Grace^literally 
murmured for she had a marshmallow choco- 
late between her white teeth. 

"How about Percy Falconer ?' asked Amy, 
mischievously. " I am sure he would wear a per- 
fectly stunning to use his own word sailor 
suit." 

" Don't you dare mention hi I name ! ' cried 
Betty. " I detest him." 

" Let us have peace ! " quoted Mollie. " Then 
it's all settled we'll cruise and camp and 



STOWAWAYS 

"Cruise again," finished Betty. "For we 
have two months, nearly, ahead of us; and we 
won't want to camp more than a week, perhaps. 
We can go into the lower river, below Rainbow; 
Lake, too, I think. It is sometimes rough there, 
but the Gem is built for rough weather, Uncle 
Amos says." 

The girls discussed further the coming trip and 
then, as each one had considerable to do still to 
get ready, they went gaily to their several 
homes. 

Will came in later, looked moodily into an 
-empty candy box, and exclaimed : 

" You might have left a few, Sis." 

" What \ With four girls ?, Will, you expect 
too much." 

" I wonder if I'll be disappointed in expecting 
a ride in Betty's boat?' 

" No, we are going to be very kind and forgiv- 
ing, and ask you and Frank. I believe Betty 
is planning it." 

" Good for her. She's a brick ! I wish, 
though, that we could clear up this business about 
the papers." 

" So do I. Wasn't it unfortunate ? " 

"Yes. How is little Dodo coming on?' 

" Not very well, I'm afraid," and Grace sighed. 
rffie injury to the child hung like a black shadowi 



68 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

over her. " The specialist is going to see her 
soon again. He has some hopes." 

"That's good; cheer up, Sis! Come on down 
town and I'll blow you to a soda." 

" Blow 'such slang ! " 

"* It's no worse than * hike/ 

" I suppose not. Wait until I fix my hair." 

" Good night ! " gasped Will. " I don't want 
to wait an hour. I'm thirsty!' 

" I won't be a minute." 

" That's what they all say/' But Grace svas 
really not very long. 

In answer to a telephone message next day the 
three chums assembled at Betty's house. 

" I think we will go for a little trip all by 
ourselves on the river this afternoon," she said. 
" Every time, so far Uncle Amos, or one of 
the boys, has been with us. We must learn to 
depend on ourselves." 

"That is so," agreed Mollie. "It will be 
lovely; it is such a nice day." 

" Just a little trip," went on Betty, " to see if 
we have forgotten anything of our instructions." 

Just then a clock chimed out eight strokes, in 
four sections of two strokes each. 

"Eight o'clock!" exclaimed Amy. "Your 
timepiece must be wrong, Betty. It's nearer 
noon than eight." 



'STOWAWAYS. 69 

"That's eight bells twelve o'clock," said the 
pretty hostess, with a laugh. " That's a new 
marine clock Uncle Amos gave me for the Gem. 
It keeps time just as it is done on shipboard." 

" And when it's eight o'clock it's twelve," mur- 
mured Grace. "Do you have to do subtraction 
and addition every time the clock strikes?' 

" No, you see, eight bells is the highest num- 
ber. It is eight bells at eight o'clock, at four 
o'clock and at twelve either at night, or in the 
daytime." 

" Oh, I'm sure I'll Sever learn that," sigfied 
Amy. 

" It Is very simple," explained Betty. " Now, 
it is eight bells twelve o'clock noon. At half- 
past twelve it will be one bell. Then half an 
hour later, it will be two bells one o'clock. You 
see, every half hour is rung." 

"Worse and worse!' protested Mollie. 
" What time is it at two o'clock ? " 

Four bells," answered Betty, promptly. 
Why, I thought four bells was four o'clock," 
spoke Grace. 

" No, eight bells is four o'clock in the after- 
noon, and also lour o'clock in the morning. 
Then it starts over again with one bell, whicfi 
twould be half -past lour; two bells, five; three 
bells, lialf-past five, and ."' 





4f 



(t 
(( 



70 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

"Oh, stop! stop! you make my head ache!" 
cried Grace. " Has anyone a chocolate cream?, " 

They all laughed. 

You'll soon understand it," said Betty. 
It's worse than remembering to turn the 
steering wheel the opposite way you want to go," 
objected Mollie. " But we are young we may 
learn in time." 

The Gem was all ready to start, and the girls, 
reaching Mollie's house, in the rear of which, 
at a river dock, the boat was tied, went aboard. 

" Have you enough gasoline? " asked Amy, as 
she helped Betty loosen the mooring ropes. 

" Yes, I telephoned for the man to fill the tank 
this morning. Look at the automatic gauge and 
see if it isn't registered," for there was a device 
on the boat that did away with the necessity of 
taking the top off the tank and putting a dry 
stick down, to ascertain how much of the fluid 
was on hand. 

" Yes, it's full," replied Amy. 

" Then here we go ! " cried Betty, as the other 
girls shoved off from the dock, and the Little 
Captain pushed the automatic sorter. With a 
throb and a roar the motor took up its staccato 
song of progress. When sufficiently away from 
the dock Betty let in the clutch, and the craffc 
shot swiftly down the stream. 



STOWAWAYS 

" Oh, this is glorious ! ' cried Mollie, as she 
Stood beside Betty, the wind fanning her cheeks 
and blowing her hair in a halo about her face. 

" Perfect ! ' echoed Amy. " And even Grace 
has forgotten to eat a chocolate for ten minutes." 

" Oh, let me alone I just want to enjoy 
this ! ' exclaimed the candy-loving maiden. 

They had been going along for some time, 
taking turns steering, saluting other craft by their 
(whistle, and being saluted in turn. 

" Let's go sit down on the stern lockers," pro- 
posed Grace after a while, the lockers being con- 
vertible into bunks on occasion. As the girls 
went aft, there came from the forward cabin a 
series of groans. 

"What's that?" cried Mollie. 

" Some one is in there ! ' ' added Grace, cling- 
ing to Amy. 

Again a groan, and some suppressed laughter. 

" There are stowaways aboard ! ' cried Betty, 
" Girls, we must put ashore at once and get an 
officer! " and she shifted the wheel. 



CHAPTER VIII 

A HINT OF GHOSTS 



: WHO can they be? 3 

" It sounds like more than one! ' 

' Anyhow, they can't get out ! ' 

It was Betty who said this last, Grace and 
Mollie having made the foregoing remarks. And 
Betty had no sooner detected the presence on 
the Gem of stowaways than she had pulled shut 
the sliding door leading into the trunk cabin, and 
had slid the hatch cover forward, fastening both 
with the hasps. 

'They'll stay there until we get an officer," 
she explained. " Probably they are tramps ! ' 

"Oh, Betty!'* It was a startled trio who 
cried thus. 

" Well, maybe only boys/' * 'knitted the Little 
Captain, as a concession. " They may have 
come aboard, intending to go off for a ride in 
my boat, and we came just in time. They hid 
themselves in there. That's what I think about 
it." 

72 



A HINT OF GHOSTS 73 

" And you are exactly right, Betty ! ' unex- 
pectedly exclaimed a voice from behind the 
closed door. " That's exactly how it happened. 
We're sorry we'll be good ! ' 

"Dot any tandy?' came in childish accents 
from another of the stowaways. 

The girls looked at one another in surprise. 
Then a light dawned on them. 

" Don't have us arrested ! ' pleaded another 
yoice, with laughter in it. 

" That's Will ! " cried Grace. 

" And Frank Haley ! " added Amy. 

" And Paul ! " spoke Mollie. " Little brother, 
are you in there ? ' 

They listened for the answer. 

"Ess, I'se here. Oo dot any tandy?' 

"The boys put him up to that," whispered 
Grace. 

Betty slid open the door, and there stood Will 
and Frank, with Paul between them. The boys 
looked sheepish the child expectant. 

" I ought to put you two in irons," spoke 
Betty, but with a smile. " I believe that is what 
is done with stowaways." 

"Couldn't you ship us before the mast?' 
asked Will, with a chuckle. "That is the very 
latest manner of dealing with gentlemen who are 
unexpectedly carried off on a cruise." 



74 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

'Unexpectedly?" asked Grace, with meaning. 

" Certainly," went on her brother. " We just 
happened to come aboard to look over the boat, 
Frank and I. Then Paul wandered down here, 
and before we knew it we heard you coming. 
For a joke we hid under the bunks, and thought 
to give you a little scare. We didn't think you 
were going for a spin, but when you started we 
just made up our minds to remain hidden until 
you got far enough out so you wouldn't want 
to turn back. That's what stowaways always 
do," he concluded. 

"I'm glad you do things as they ought to be 
done," remarked Betty, swinging the wheel over. 
She had changed her mind about going ashore 
after an officer. 

" Dot any tandy? " asked Paul again. 

" Do give him some, if you have any/' begged 
Will. " We bribed him with the promise of 
some to keep quiet. Surely he has earned it." 

" Here," said Grace, impulsively, as she ex- 
tended some to the tot, who at once proceeded 
to get as much outside his face _*s into his mouth. 
Then she added rather sternly : " I don't think 
this was very nice of you, Will. Betty didn't 
invite you aboard." 

"Oh, that's all right!" said Betty, good- 
naturedly. " I'm glad they're here now let 



A HINT OF GHOSTS, 



75 



them stay. I'm so relieved to find they aren't 
horrid tramps. Besides, the motor may not > 
mote and we'd need help. We will make them 
.work their passage." 

" Aye, aye, sir ! " exclaimed Frank, pulling his 
front hair, sailor- fashion. " Shall we holystone 
the decks, or scrub the lee scuppers? You have 
but to command us ! ' and he bowed exagger- 
atedly. 

" You may steer if you like," said Betty, gra- 
ciously, and Frank and Will were both so eager 
for the coveted privilege that they had to draw 
lots to settle who should stand the first 
" trick." 

For Betty's boat was a beauty, and the envy 
not only of Will and Frank, but of every other 
boy in Deepdale. So it is no wonder these two 
stowed themselves away for the chance of get- 
ting a ride in the fine craft. 

"Let's go down as far as one of the lake 
islands," suggested Will, who was now at the 
wheel, his turn having come. 

" Can we get back in time ? ' asked Betty. 
"The river is high now, after the rains, and 
there's quite a current." 

" Oh, the Gem has speed and power enough 
to do it in style," declared Frank. " We'll guar- 
antee to get you back in time for supper." 



76 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

" All right," agreed the captain, who had gone 
into the cabin with the other girls. 

" And perhaps we can pick out a good place 
to go camping," added Grace. 

The boys directed the course of the boat, while 
the girls looked after Paul. 

" We must stop at some place where there is 
a telephone," said Mollie, " and I'll send word to 
mamma that Paul is with me. She may be wor- 
ried." 

" Yes, do," suggested Betty. A little later trie 
girls saw that the boys were approaching a dock, 
the main one of a small town just below Deep- 
dale. 

" Where are you going? " asked Grace of her 
brother. 

" Going to tie up for a minute. Frank and I 
want to make amends for sneaking aboard, so 
we thought you'd like some soda. There's se 
grocery store here that keeps pretty good stuff." 

" Oh, yes, I know Mr. Lagg ! ' exclaimed 
Mollie. " Barry Lagg is his name. He's real 
quaint and jolly." 

" Then let's go ashore for the soda ourselves, 
and meet him," suggested Grace. " I am very 
thirsty. What is Mr. Lagg's special line of 
jollity?' she asked Mollie. 

" Oh, he makes up little verses as He waits on 



A HINT OF GHOSTS, 77 



you. You'll see," was Mollie's answer. 
often stop in for a little something to eat when 
I am out rowing. He is a nice old gentleman, 
very polite, and he has lots of queer stories to 
tell." 

"Has He 3ot any tandy?' inquired Paul, 
eagerly. 

" Oh, you dear, of course he has ! ' cried his 
sister. " You are getting as bad as Grace," and 
she looked at her chum meaningly. 

Will skillfully laid the Gem alongside the doclc 
and soon the little party of young people were 
trooping up to the store, which was near the river 
front. 

" Ah, good day to you all good day, ladies 
and gentlemen, every one, and the little shaver 
too ! " cried Mr. Lagg, with a bow as they entered 
his shop. 



What will you please to buy to-day? 
If it's coffee or tea, just walk this way,' 



And, with this charming couplet Mr. Lagg 
started toward the rear of his store, where the 
aromatic odor of ground coffee indicated that he 
had spoken truly. 

" We'd like some of your good soda/' spoke 
Will. 



78 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

" Ha, soda. I don't know that I have any- 
thing in the line of soda." 

"No soda?' exclaimed Frank. 
* I mean I haven't made up any poetry about 
that. I have about almost everything else in my 
store. Let me see soda soda " 

He seemed searching for a rhyme. 

" Pagoda ! Pagoda ! " laughed Betty. 

" That is it ! ' exclaimed Mr Lagg. " Thank 
you for the suggestion. Let me see, now. How 
would this do? 



If you wish to drink of Lagg's fine soda, 
Just take your seat in a Chinese pagoda! 



Very good," complimented Will. We'll 
dispense with the pagoda if you will dispense 
the soda." 

" Ha ! Good again ! You are a punster, I 
see ! " 

Mr. Lagg laughed genially, and soon pro- 
vided the party with bottles of deliciously cool 
soda, and straws through which to partake of it, 
glasses being voted too prosaic. 

There came a protest from Paul, who was 
sharing the treat. 

" I tan't dit no sody ! " he cried. " It all bub- 
bles up!" 



A HINT OF GHOSTS 79' 

" No wonder ! You are blowing down your 
straw. Pull up on it, just as if you were whis- 
tling backwards/' said Mollie. 

" Whistling backwards is a distinctly new way 
of expressing it," commented Frank. 

"I dot it! " cried the tot, as the level of his 
glass began to fall under his efforts successful 
this time. 

Then, having finished that, he fixed his big 
eyes on Mr. Lagg, and demanded: 

"Oo dot any tandy?" 

" Candy ! ' cried the eccentric store keeper. 
" Ha, I have a couplet about that. 



If you would feel both fine and dandy, 
Just buy a pound of Lagg's best candy ! ' 



" That is irresistible ! ' ' exclaimed Will ; Trot 
out a pound of the most select" 

"With pleasure/' said Mr. Lagg. 

Merrily the young people wandered about the 
store, the girls buying some notions and trinkets 
they thought they would need on the trip, for 
Mr. Lagg did a general business. 

" What are all you folks doing around here? ' 
asked the storekeeper, when he had waited on 
some other customers. 

"Getting in practice for a cruise," answered 



8o THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

Mollie " Betty, here, is the proud possessor of 
a lovely motor boat, and we are going to Rain- 
bow Lake soon." 

" And camp on an island, too," added Amy. 
" I know I shall love that." 

"Any particular island?' asked Mr. Lagg. 

" Elm is a nice one," remarked Will Why 
don't you girls try that? It isn't as far as Tri- 
angle, and it's nearly as large. It's wilder and 
prettier, too." 

" Know anything about Elm Island, Mr. 
Lagg? " asked Frank, as he inspected some fish- 
ing tackle. 

" Well, yes, I might say I do," and Mr. Lagg 
pursed up his lips. 

" Is it a good place? ' 

" Oh, it's good all right, but " and he hesi- 
tated. 

"What is the matter?" demanded Betty 
quickly. She thought she detected something 
strange in Mr. Lagg's manner. 

"Why, the only thing about it is that it's 
haunted there's a ghost there," and as he spoke 
the storekeeper slipped a generous slice of cheese 
on a cracker and munched it. 



CHAPTER IX 

OFF 1 ON THE TRIP 

THE girls stared blankly at one another. The 
boys frankly winked at each other, clearly un- 
believing. 

" Haunted ? " Betty finally gasped. 

" A ghost ? ' ' echoed Amy, f alteringly. 
; What what kind? ' Grace stammered. 
: Why, the usual kind, of course," declared 
Will. " A ghosty ghost, to be sure. White, with 
long waving arms, and clanking chains, and all 
the accessories." 

" Stop it ! ' commanded his sister. *' You'll 
scare Paul," for the child was looking at Will 
strangely. 

" Oh, it's white all right," put in Mr. Lagg, 
" and some of the fishermen around here did say 
they heard clanking chains, but I don't take much" 
stock in them. Tell me," he demanded, helping 
himself to anotrier slice of cheese, 'tell me why 

would anything as light as a ghost for they're 

8r 



82 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

always supposed to float like an airship, you 
know tell me why should they want to burden 
themselves with a lot of clanking chains espe- 
cially when a ghost is so thin that the chains 
would fall right through 'em, anyhow. I don't 
take no stock in that ! ' 

"But what is this story?" asked Betty. "If 
we are thinking of camping on Elm Island, we do 
not want to be annoyed by some one playing 
pranks; do we, girls?' 

" I should say not! " chorused the three. 

" Well, of course I didn't see it myself," spoke 
Mr. Lagg, "but Hi Sneddecker, who stopped 
there to eat his supper one night when he went 
out to set his eel pots Hi told me he seen some- 
thing tall and white rushing around, and making 
a terrible noise in the bushes." 

" I thought ghosts never made a noise," re- 
marked Grace, languidly. She was beginning to 
believe now that it was only a poor attempt at 
a joke. 

"Hi said this one did," went on Mr. Lagg, 
being too interested to quote verses now. " It 
was him as told me about the clanking chains," 
he went on, " but, as I said, I don't take no stock 
in that part" 

" I guess Hi was telling one of his fish stories," 
commented Frank. 



OFF ON, THE TRIP 

" Oh, Josh Whiteby seen it, too," said Mr. 
Lagg. He was enjoying the sensation he had 
created. 

" Is he reliable ? " asked Will. 

"Well, he don't owe me as much as some? 
was the judicious answer. "Josh says he seen 
the white thing, but he didn't mention no chains. 
It was more like a ' swishing ' sound he heard. 

"Dot any more tandy?" asked Paul, and the 
laugh that followed in a measure relieved the 
nerves of the girls, for in spite of their almost 
entire disbelief in what they had heard, the talk 
bothered them a little. 

" There are no such things as ghosts ! ' 3e- 
clared Betty, with excellent sense. "We are! 
silly to even talk about them. Oh, there is some- 
thing I want for my boat," and she pointed to a 
little brass lantern. " It will be just fine for 
going up on deck with," she proceeded. " Of 
course the electric lights, run by the storage bat- 
tery, are all right, but we need a lantern like that. 
How much is it, Mr. Lagg?" 

"That lantern to you 
Will cost just two!" 

* I'll take it," said Betty, promptly. 
"Dollars not cents," said the storekeeper, 



84 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

quickly. " I couldn't make a dollar rhyme in 
there, somehow or other," he added. 

" You might say," spoke Will, " ' Twill cost' 
you two dollar, but don't make a holler.' 

'That isn't my style. My poetry is always 
correct," said Mr. Lagg, somewhat stiffly. 

The lantern was wrapped up and the young 
people got ready to go down to the boat. 

" Say, Mr. Lagg," asked Will, lingering a bit 
behind the others, "just how much is there in 
this ghost story, anyhow ? ' 

"Just what I told you," was the answer. 
"There is something queer on that island." 

*' Then the girls will find out what it is ! " de- 
clared Will, with conviction. " If they could 
find the man who lost the five hundred dollar 
bill, they're equal to laying the ghost of Elm 
Island. I'm not going to worry about them." 

" Let's go down a little way farther and have 
a look at the haunted island," proposed Grace, 
when they were again on board the Gem* 

" Have we time ? ' asked Betty. 

"Lots," declared Will. 

The motor boat was headed for tHe place. The 
island was of good size, well wooded, and the 
shore was lined with bushes. There were a few 
bungalows on it, but the season was not very 
good this year, and none of them had bee* 



OFF ON THE TRIP 85 

rented. The girls half -planned to hire one to 
use as headquarters in case they camped on the 
island. 

" It doesn't loolc very ghostly," said Betty, 
as she surveyed it from the cockpit of her craft. 

" No, it looks lovely," said Grace. 

" Is the ghost going to keep us away ? ' ' asked 
Mollie. 

" Never ! ' cried the Little Captain, vigor- 
ously. 

" Hurray ! " shouted Will, waving the boat's 
flag that he took from the after-socket. 

They made a turn of the island, and started 
back up the river for Deepdale, reaching Mollie's 
dock without incident. 

Busy days followed, for they were getting 
ready for the cruise. Uncle Amos went out with 
Betty and the girls several times to offer advice, 
and he declared that they were fast becoming 
good sailors. 

"Of course not good enough for deep water," 
he made haste to qualify, "but all right for a 
river and a lake." 

The girls were learning to tell time seamari 
fashion. Betty fairly lived aboard her new boat, 
her mother complained, but the Little Captain 
swas not selfish she invited many of her friends 
and acquaintances to take sliort trips with Her. 



86 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

Among the girls she asked were Alice Jallow 
and Kittie Rossmore, the two who had acted 
rather meanly toward our friends just prior to 
the walking trip. But Alice was sincerely sorry 
for the anonymous letter she had written, giving 
a hint of the mystery surrounding Amy Stoning- 
ton, and the girls had forgiven her. 

Betty's Aunt Kate arrived. She was a middle- 
aged lady, but as fond of the great out-doors as 
the girls themselves. She was to chaperone them 
for a time. 

The final preparations were made, hie sailor 
suits were pronounced quite " chicken ' by Will 
- he meant " chic," of course. Trunks had been 
packed, some provisions put aboard, and all was 
in readiness. Uncle Amos planned to meet the 
girls later, and see that all was going well. The 
boys were to be given a treat some time after 
Rainbow Lake was reached, word to be sent to 
them of this event. 

" All aboard ! ' cried Betty on the morning of 
the start. It was a glorious, sunshiny day, quite 
warm, but there was a cool breeze on the river. 
" All aboard ! " 

" Oh, I just know I've forgotten something f ' 
declared Grace. 

"Your candy?" questioned Mollie. 

" No, indeed. Don't be horrid! " 



OFF ON, THE TRIP 87 



" I'm not. Only I thought- 



" 



'I'm just tired of thinking!' returned Betty. 

"Shall I cast off?" asked Will, who, with 
Frank, had come down to the dock to see the 
girls start. 

"Don't you dare!' cried Mollie. "I'm sure 

I forgot to bring my " She made a hurried 

search among her belongings. " No, I have it ! ' 
and she sighed in relief. She did not say what 
it was. 

" All aboard ! ' cried Betty, giving three 
blasts on the compressed air whistle. 

" Don't forget to send us word," begged 
Frank. " We want to join you on the lake." 

" We'll remember," promised Betty, with a 
6mile that showed her white, even teeth. 

All was in readiness. Good-byes had been 
aid to relatives and friends, and Mrs. Billette, 
holding Paul by the hand, had conie down to the 
dock to bid farewell to her daughter and chums. 

" Have a good time ! ' she wished them. 

A maid hurried up to her, and said something 
in French. 

" Oh, the doctor has come ! ' exclaimed Mol- 
lie's mother. " The doctor who is to look at 
Dodo the specialist. Oh, I am so glad ! ' 

" Shall I stay, mother? " cried MouVe, making 
a move as though to come ashore. 



THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 



' No, dear; no! Go with your friends. I 
can send you word. You may call me by the 
telephone. Good-bye good-bye ! ' 

The Gem slowly dropped down the stream 
tinder the influence of the current and her own 
power, Betty having throttled down the motor 
that the farewell calls might be better heard. 
Mrs. Billette, waving her hand, hastened toward 
the house, the maid taking care of little Paul, 
whose last request was: 

" Brin' me some tandy ! ' 



CHAPTER 

ADRIFT 



"WELL, Captain Betty, what are your or- 
ders ? ' asked Amy, as the four girls, and [Aunt 
Kate, stood grouped in the space aft of the trunk 
cabin, Betty being at the wheel, while the Gem 
moved slowly down the Argono River. 

* Just make yourselves perfectly at home," 
answered Betty. " This trip is for fun and pleas- 
ure, and, as far as possible, we are to do just as 
we please. You don't mind; do you, Aunt 
Kate ? " 

" Not in the least, my dear, as long as you 
don't sink," and the chaperone smiled indul- 
gently. 

" This boat won't sink," declared Betty, with 
confidence. " It has water-tight compartments. 
Uncle Amos had them built purposely." 

" It certainly is a beautiful boat beautiful," 
murmured Mollie, looking about as she pulled 
and straightened her middy blouse. "And it 

89 



90 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 
was so good of you, Bet, to ask us on this 



cruise/ 



Why, that's what the boat is for for one's 
friends. We are all shipmates now." 

" ' Strike up a song, here comes a sailor/ 
chanted Grace, rather indistinctly, for she was, 
as usual, eating a chocolate. 

The girls, standing there on the little depressed 
deck, their hair tastefully arranged, topped by 
natty little caps, with their sailor suits of blue 
and white, presented a picture that more than one 
turned to look at. The Gem was near the shore, 
along which ran a main-traveled highway, and 
there seemed to be plenty of traffic this morning. 
Also, a number of boats were going up or down 
stream, some large, some small, and often the 
occupants turned to take a second look at the 
Outdoor Girls. 

Certainly they had every appearance of living 
the life jf the open, for they had been well 
tanned by the long walk they took, and that 
" berry-b r own ' was being added to now by the 
summer sun reflecting from the river. 

" Is this as fast as you can go? " asked Mollie, 
as she looked over the side and noted that they 
were not much exceeding the current of the 
river. 

"Indeed, no! took!" cried Betty, as she 



ADRIFT^ 91 

released the throttle control that connected the 
gasoline supply with the motor. At once, as 
.when the accelerator pedal of an auto is pressed, 
the engine hummed and throbbed, and a mass 
of foam appeared at the stern to show the pres- 
ence of the whirling propeller. 

" That's fine ! ' cried Grace, as Betty slowed 
jdown once more. 

" I thought we'd take it easy," the Little Cap- 
tain went on, " as we don't want to finish our 
cruise in one day, or even two. If I drove the 
Gem to the limit, we'd be in Rainbow Lake, and 
out of it, in too short a time. So I planned to 
go down the river slowly, stop at noon and go 
ashore for our lunch, go on slowly again, and 
tie up for the night." 

"Then we're going to sleep aboard?' asked 
Grace. 

"Of course! What would be the fun of hav- 
ing bunks if we didn't use them? Of course 
we'll sleep here." 

" And stand watches and all that sort of 
thing, the way your uncle told of it being done 
aboard ships?' Mollie wanted to know. 

" There'll be no need of that," declared Betty. 
"But we can leave a light burning." 

" To scare away sharks ? ' asked Amy, witH 
a laugh. 



THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 



1 No, but if we didn't some one passing might 
think the boat deserted and come aboard to take 
things." 

" I hope they don't take us ! ' cried Mollie. 
" I'm going to hide my new bracelet," and she 
looked at the sparkling trinket on her wrist. 

"Amy, want to steer?' asked Grace, after a 
while, and the girl of mystery agreed eagerly. 
But she nearly came to grief within a few min- 
utes, A canoeist rather rashly crossed the bows 
of the Gem at no great distance. 

" Port ! Port ! ' cried Betty, suddenly, seeing 
the danger. 

"Which is port right or left? I've forgot- 
ten ! ' wailed Amy, helplessly. 

" To the left! To the left! " answered Betty, 
springing forward. 

She was not in time to prevent Amy from 
turning the wheel to the left, which had the effect 
of swinging the boat to the right, and almost 
directly towiard the canoeist, \vho shouted in 
alarm. 

But by this time Betty had reached the wheel, 
and twirled it rapidly. She was only just in 
time, and the Gem fairly grazed the canoe, the 
wash from the propeller rocking it dangerously. 

" We beg your pardon ! ' called Betty to the 
young man in the frail craft. 




THE GEM FAIRLY GRAZED THE CANOE. 
Th* Outdoor Girls at Rainbow Lcke, Pag* 



TUF NEW 

PUBLIC [JBH< ' : V 



ASTiK LtNUX AMU 
TU.UIM rwlNLlAl'lONS 
H L 



ADRIFT 93 

M 



That's all right," he said, pleasantly. 'It 
was my own fault." 

" Thank you," spoke Amy, gratefully. " Here, 
Bet, I don't want to steer any more." 

" No, keep the wheel. You may as well learn, 
and I'll stand by you. No telling when you 
may have to steer all alone." 

They stopped for lunch in a pretty little grove, 
and sat and talked for an hour afterward. Mol- 
lie hunted up a telephone and got into communi- 
cation with her house. She came back looking 
rather sober. 

" The specialist says Dodo will have to un- 
dergo an operation," she reported. Grace gasped, 
and the others looked worried. 

" It isn't serious," continued Mollie, ' and he 
says she will surely be better after it. But of 
course mamma feels dreadful about it." 

" I should think so," observed Betty. " They 
never found out who those mean autoists were, 
did they?" 

" No," answered Grace, " and we've never 
gotten a trace of Prince, or the missing paper?. 
Papa is much worried." 

" Well, let's talk about something more pleas- 
ant," suggested Betty. "Shall we start off 
again ? ' 

" Might as well," agreed Grace. " And as it 



94 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

isn't far to that funny Mr. Lagg's store, let's stop 
and " 

" Get some candy and poetry," finished Amy, 
with a laugh. 

' I was going to say hairpins, as I need them," 
spoke Grace, with a dignity that soon vanisned, 
' but since you suggested chocolates, I'll get them 
as well." 

They found Mr. Lagg smiling as usual. 



This fine and beautiful sunny day, 
What will you have oats or hay? 



Thus he greeted the girls, who laughingly de- 
clined anything in the line of fodder. 

" Unless you could put some out as a bait for 
our horse Prince," spoke Grace. " It's the queer- 
est thing where he can have gone." 

" It is strange," admitted the genial store- 
keeper, who had heard the story from IWill. 
" But if I hear of him I'll let you know. IKnd, 
now what can I do for you? 

" I've razors, soap and perfume rare, 
To scent the balmy summer air," 

He bowed to the girls in turn. 

"How about chewing gum?" asked Betty. 



ADRIFT. 95 

"OH, would you?' asked Grace, iri rather 
horrified tones. 

" Certainly, aboard the boat where no one will 
see us." 

" Gum, gum ; chewing gum, 
One and two is a small sum," 

Mr. Lagg thus quoted as he opened the show- 
case. 

The girls made several purchases, and were 
treated to more of the storekeeper's amusing 
couplets. Then they started off again, having 
inquired for a good place at which to tie up for 
the night. 

Dunkirk, on the western shore, was recom- 
mended by Mr. Lagg in a little rhyme, and then 
he waved to them from the end of his dock as 
the Gem was once more under way. 

"Look out for that big steamer," cautioned 
Betty a little later, to Grace, who was steering. 

" Why, I'm far enough off," answered Grace. 

" You never can tell," responded the Little 
Captain, " for there is often a strong attraction 
between vessels on a body of water. Give it a 
wide berth, as Uncle Amos would say." 

That Betty's advice was needed was made 
manifest a moment later, for the large steamer 



96 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE. 

whistled sharply, which was an intimation to the 
smaller craft to veer off, and Grace shifted the 
wheel 

They reached Dunkirk without further inci- 
dent, except that about a mile from it the motor 
developed some trouble. In vain Betty and the 
others poked about in the forward compartment 
trying to locate it, and they might not have suc- 
ceeded had not a man, passing in a little one- 
cylindered boat, kindly stopped and discovered 
that one of the spark plug wires was loose. It 
was soon adjusted and the Gem proceeded. 

" I'll always be on the lookout for that first, 
when there is any trouble after this," said Betty, 
as she thanked the stranger. 

" Oh, that isn't the only kind of trouble that 
can develop in a motor," he assured her. But 
Betty well knew this herself. 

They had passed Elm Island soon after leaving 
Mr. Lagg's store, but saw no sign of life on it. 
They intended to come back later on in their 
cruise and camp there, if they decided to carry 
out their original plans of living in a tent or 
bungalow. 

That is, if the ghost doesn't make it too un- 
pleasant," remarked Betty. 

They ate supper aboard the boat, cooking on 
tfie little galley- stove. Then the work of getting 



ADRIFT 



97. 



(( 
t( 



ready for the night, washing the dishes, prepar- 
ing the bunks, and so on, was divided among the 
five, though Aunt Kate wanted the girls to go 
ashore and let her attend to everything. 

" We'll take a little walk ashore after we have 
everything ready/' suggested Betty. The stroll 
along the river bank in the cool of the evening, 
while the colors of the glorious sunset were still 
in the sky, was most enjoyable. 

" Gracious ! A mosquito bit me ! ' exclaimed 
Grace, as she rubbed the back of her slim, white 
hand. 

That isn't a capital crime," laughed Mollie. 
No, but if there are mosquitoes here they 
(will make life miserable for us to-night," Grace 
[went on. 

" I have citronella, and there are mosquito 
nettings over the bunks," said Betty. "Don't 
gyorry." 

They went back to the boat, and trie lanterns 
(were lighted. 

"Oh, doesn't it look too nice to sleep in"! ' 
exclaimed Amy, as they gazed into the little 
cabin, with its tastefully arranged berths. 

" I'm tired enough to sleep on almost any- 
thing," yawned Mollie. " Let's see who'll be the 
first to " 

" Not snore, I hope ! " exclaimed Betty. 



98 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

" Don't suggest such a thing," came from 
Amy. " We are none of us addicted to the lux- 
ury." 

But, after all, tired as they were, no one felt 
like going to sleep, once they were prepared for 
it. They talked over the events of the day, got 
to laughing, and from laughing to almost hys- 
terical giggling. But finally nature asserted her- 
self, and all was quiet aboard the Gem, which 
had been moored to a private dock, just above 
the town. 

It was Betty, rather a light sleeper, who awoke 
first, and she could not account at once for the 
peculiar motion. It was as though she was 
swinging in a hammock. She sat up, and peered 
about the dimly lighted cabin. Then the re- 
membrance of where she was came to her. 

" But but ! " she exclaimed. " We're adrift ! 
We're floating down the river ! ' 

She sprang from her berth and awakened 
Grace by shaking her. 



\ 



CHAPTER XI 

IN DANGER 

" WHAT is it ? Oh, what has happened ? ' 

Grace cried half hysterically as she saw Bett^ 
bending over her. The others awakened. 

" Why, we're moving ! ' exclaimed Amy, Hi 
wonderment. 

" What did you want to start off for, in the 
middle of the night? " Mollie asked, blinking the 
sleep from her eyes. 

" I didn't," answered Betty quickly. " We're 
adrift! I don't know how it could have hap- 
pened. You girls tied the boat, didn't you? ' 

"Of course," answered Grace. " I fastened 
both ropes myself." 

" Never mind about that," broke in Aunt 
Kate. " I don't know much about boats, but if 
this one isn't being steered we may run into 
something." 

"That's so!" cried Betty. "But I didn't 
want to go out on deck alone slip your rain- 

99 



44014R 



100 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

coats on, girls, and come with me! There may 
be I mean some one may have set us adrift 
purposely ! ' 

" Oh, don't say such things ! ' pleaded Grace, 
looking at the cabin ports as though a face might 
be peering in. 

Quickly Betty and Mollie got into their long, 
dark coats, and without waiting for slippers 
reached the after deck. As they looked ahead 
they saw a bright light bearing directly for them, 
It was a white light, and on either side showed 
a gleam of red and green. Then a whistle blew. 

" Oh, we're going to be run down ! ' cried 
Mollie. " A steamer is coming directly for us, 
Betty ! " 

" We won't be run down if we can get out of 
the way ! ' exclaimed Betty, sharply. " Push 
that button the automatic, I mean and start 
the motor. I'll steer," and Betty grasped the 
wheel with one hand, while with the other she 
pulled the signal cord, sending out a sharp blast 
that indicated her direction to the oncoming 
steamer would be to port. The steamer replied, 
indicating that she would take the same course. 
Evidently there was some misunderstanding. 

" And we haven't our side lamps going! " cried 
Betty, in alarm, as she realized the danger. 
" Quick, girls, come up here ! ' she called to 



IN DANGER lor 

Grace and Amy. "One of you switch on trie 
electric lamps. At least they can see us, then, 
and can avoid us. Oh, I don't know what to do ! 
I never thought of this!' 

A sudden glow told that Amy had found the 
storage battery switch, for the red and green 
lights now gleamed. Again the on-coming 
steamer whistled, sharply interrogatively. Betty 
answered, but she was not sure she had given 
the right signal. 

" Why don't you start the motor? ' she called 
to Mollie. 

" I can't ! It doesn't seem to work." 

"The switch is off!' exclaimed Grace, as she 
came out of the cabin. With a quick motion 
she shoved it over. 

" How stupid of me ! " cried Betty. " I should 
have seen to that first. Try again, Mollie ! ' 

Again Mollie pressed the button of the self- 
starter, but there was no response. The Gem 
was still drifting, seemingly in the very path of 
the steamer. 

"Why don't tHey change their course?' 
wailed Amy. "Can't they see we're not under 
control ? We can't start ! We can't start ! ' she 
cried at the top of her voice, hoping the other 
steersman would Hear. 

"The steamer can't get out of the channel 



102 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

that's the reason ! ' gasped Betty. " I see now. 
It's too shallow for big boats except in certain 
places here. We must get out of her way she 
can't get out of ours! Girls, we must start the 
motor!" 

" Then try it with the crank, and let the auto 
matic go," suggested Aunt Kate, practically. 
" Probably it's out of order. You must do 
something, girls ! ' 

"Use the crank ! ' ' cried Betty, who was hold- 
ing the wheel over as hard as she could, hoping 
the tug of the current would carry the Gem out 
of danger. But the craft hardly had steerage 
way on. 

Mollie seized the crank, which, by means of a 
long shaft and sprocket chain, extending from 
the after cabin bulkhead to the flywheel, revolved 
that. She gave it a vigorous turn. There was 
no welcome response of throbbing explosions in 
the cylinders. 

" Try again ! " gasped Betty. " Oh, all of you 
try. I simply can't leave the wheel." 

The steamer was now sending out a concert of 
sharp, staccato blasts. Plainly she was saying, 
loudly : 

" Get out of my way'! I Have the right o'f the 
river! You must get out of my way! I can't 
avoid you ! ' 



IK DANGER 103 

" Why don't they stop ? " wailed Grace. 
" Then we wouldn't bump them so hard ! ' 

As if in answer, there came echoing over the 
dark water the clang of the engine-room bell, 
that told half-speed ahead had been ordered. A 
moment later came the signal to stop the engines. 

" Oh, if only Uncle Amos or some of the 
boys were here ! ' breathed Betty. " Girls, try 
once more ! ' 

Together Mollie and Grace whirled the crank, 
and an instant later the motor started with a 
throb that shook the boat from stem to stern. 

" There ! ' cried Betty. " Now I can avoid 
them." 

She threw in the clutch, and as the Gem shot 
ahead she whistled to indicate her course. This 
time came the proper response, and a little later 
the motor boat shot past the towering sides of 
the river steamer. So near had a collision been 
that the girls could hear the complaining voice 
of the pilot of the large craft. 

"What's the matter with you fellows?' the 
man cried, as he looked down on the girls. 
" Don't you know what you're doing? ' Clearly 
he was angry. 

"We got adrift, and ttie motor wouldn't start," 
cried Betty, in shrill tones. 

" Pilot biscuit and puppy cakes ! ' cried the 



104 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKB 

man. " It's a bunch of girls ! No wonder they 
didn't know what to do! ' 

: We did only we couldn't do it ! ' shouted 
Betty, not willing to have any aspersions cast on 
herself or her friends. " It was an accident! " 

"All right; don't let it happen again," cried 
the steersman, in more kindly tones. And then 
the Gem slipped on down the river. 

: What are we going to do?' asked Mollie,, 
as Grace steered her boat. 

' If we're going to stay out here I'm going to 
get dressed," declared Grace. " It's quite chilly." 
'Can you find your way back to the dock?' 
Aunt Kate inquired. "Can you do it, Betty?' 

" I think so. We left a light on it, you know. 
I'll turn around and see if I can pick it out. 
Oh, but I'm all in a tremble ! " 

" I don't blame you it was a narrow escape/' 
said Mollie. 

" I don't see how we could have gone adrift, 
unless some one cut the ropes," remarked Grace. 
" I'm sure I tied them tightly enough." 

" They may have become frayed by rubbing," 
suggested Betty. " We'll look when we get a 
chance. What are you going to do, Amy? ' for 
she was entering the cabin. 

" I'm going to make some hot chocolate," Amy 
answered. " I think we need it." 



'IN DANGER 



105 



" I'll help," spoke Aunt Kate. " That's a, very 
sensible idea." 

" I think that is the 3ock light," remarked 
Betty a little later, when the boat was headed 
up stream. 

e Anyhow, we can't be very far from it," ob- 
served Grace. " Try that one," and she pointed 
to a gleam that came across the waters. " Then 
there's another just above." 

The first light did not prove to be the one on 
the private dock where they had been tied up, but 
the second attempt to locate it was successful, 
and soon they were back where they had been 
before. Betty laid the Gem alongside the string- 
piece, and Grace and Mollie, leaping out, soon 
had the boat fast. The ends of the ropes, which 
had been trailing from the deck cleats in the 
water, were found un frayed. 

" They must have come untied ! ' said Grace. 
*' Oh, it was my fault. I thought I had mastered 
those knots, but I must have tied the wrong 
kind." 

" Never mind," said Betty, gently. 



CHAPTER XII 

AT RAINBOW LAKE 

ONCE the Gem was securely tied and Betty 
now made sure of this the tired and rather 
chilly girls adjourned to the cabin, and under the 
lights had the hot chocolate Aunt Kate and Amy 
had made. 

"It's delicious!" spoke Betty. "I feel so 
much better now." 

" We must never let on to the boys that we 
came near running down a steamer," said Grace. 
" We'd never hear the last of it." 

" But we didn't nearly run down a steamer 
she came toward us," insisted Betty, not willing 
to have her seamanship brought into question. 
" If it had been any other boat, not drawing so 
much water, she could have steered out of the 
way. As it was we, not being under control, 
had the right of way." 

" It wouldn't have done any good to Have in- 
sisted on it," remarked Grace, drawlingly. 

" No, especially as we couldn't hoist the sig- 

106 



AT. RAINBOW. LAKE 107 

naf to show that," went on Betty. " Uncle Amos 
told me there are signals for nearly everything 
that can happen at sea, but of course I never 
thought of such a thing as that we'd get adrift. 
I must be prepared next time." 

" I can't understand about those knots," spoke 
Grace. "Where is that book?' 

"What book?" 

" The one showing how to tie different kinds 
of knots. I'm going to study up on the subject." 

"Not to-night," objected Aunt Kate. "It's 
nearly morning as it is." 

" Well, the first thing to-morrow, then," de- 
clared Grace. " I'm going to make up for my; 
blunder." 

" Oh, don't be distressed," consoled Betty. 
" Any of us might have made the same mistake. 
It was only an accident, Grace dear." 

"Well, I seem fated to have accidents lately. 
There was poor little Dodo " 

" Not your fault at all ! " exclaimed Mollie, 
promptly. " I'll not allow you to blame yourself 
for her accident. It was those motorists, if any- 
one, and I'm not sure they were altogether to 
blame. Anyhow, I'm sure Dodo will be cured 
after the operation." 

" I hope so," murmured Grace. 

The appetizing odor of bacon and eggs came 



108 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

from the little galley, mingled with the aromatic 
foretaste of coffee. Aunt Kate was busy inside. 
The girls were laughing out in the cabin, or on 
the lowered after-deck. It was the next morn- 
ing which makes all the difference in the world. 

" I'm afraid we're going to have a shower to> 
day," observed Amy, musingly, as she looked up 
at the sky. A light fog hung over the river. 

" Will you ever forget the awful shower that 
kept us in the deserted house all night?' asked 
Betty, as she arranged her hair. " I mean when 
(we were on our walking trip," she added, look- 
ing for a ribbon that had floated, like a rose 
petal, under her shelf-dresser. 

" Oh, we'll never get over that ! ' declared 
Mollie, who was industriously putting hairpins 
where they would be mo* f serviceable. " And 
we couldn't imagine, for the longest time, why 
the house should be left all alone that way." 

" Now I'm going to begin my lesson," an- 
nounced Grace who, having gotten herself ready 
for breakfast, took up the book showing how 
various sailor knots should be made. With a 
piece of twine she tied " figure-eights," now and 
then slipping into the " grannie" class; she made 
half-hitches, clove hitches, a running bowline, 
and variou: other combinations, until Amy de- 
clared that it made her head ache to look on. 



AT RAINBOW LAKE 



109 



The girls had breakfast, strolled about on shore 
for a little while, and then started off, intending 
to stop in Dunkirk, which town lay a little below 
them, to get some supplies, and replenish the 
oil and gasoline. 

It was while Betty was bargaining for the 
latter necessaries for her motor in a garage near 
the river that she heard a hearty voice outside 
asking : 

" Have you men seen anything of a trim little 
craft, manned by four pretty girls, in the offing? 
She'd be about two tons register, a rakish little 
motor boat, sailing under the name Gem and 
looking every inch of it. She ought to be here 
about high tide, stopping for sealed orders, 
and " 

" Uncle Amos ! ' ! cried Betty, hurrying to the 
garage door, as she recognized his voice. " Are 
you looking for us?' 

" That's what I am, lass, and I struck the right 
harbor first thing; didn't I? Davy Jones couldn't 
be any more accurate! Well, how are you? 3 

" All right, Uncle. The girls are down in the 
boai at the dock," and she pointed. The mar 
is going to take down the oil and gasoline. Won't 
you come on a trip with us ? We expect to make 
Rainbow Lake by night." 

"Of course I'll come! That's why I drifted 



HO THE. OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

in here. I worked out your reckoning and I cal- 
culated that you'd be here about to-day, so I 
come by train, stayed over night, and here I arn. 
What kind of a voyage did you have? : 

" Very good one little accident, that's all," 
and she told about getting adrift. 

" Pshaw, now ! That's too bad ! I'll have to 
give you some lessons in mooring knots, I guess. 
It won't do to slip your cable in the middle of 
the night." 

The girls were as glad to see Betty's uncle as 
he was to greet them, and soon, with plenty of 
supplies on board, and with the old sea captain 
at the wheel, which Betty graciously asked him 
to take, the Gem slipped down the river 



again. 



At noon, when they tied up to go ashore in 
a pleasant grove for lunch, Mr. Marlin demon- 
strated how to tie so many different kinds of 
knots that the girls said they never could remem- 
ber half of them. But most particularly he in- 
sisted on all of them learning how to tie a boat 
properly so it could not slip away. 

Betty already knew this, and Mollie had a 
fairly good notion of it, but Grace admitted that, 
all along, she had been making a certain wrong 
turn which would cause the knot to slip unde* a 
strain. 



AT RAINBOW LAKE 

They motored down the river again, stopping 
at a small town to enable Mollie to go ashore 
and telephone home to learn the condition of 
little Dodo. There was nothing new to report, 
for the operation would not take place for some 
time yet. 

Grace also called up to ask if anything had 
been heard of the missing horse and papers, but 
there was no good news. However, there was 
no bad news, Will, who talked to his sister, re- 
porting that the interests opposed to their father 
had made no move to take advantage of the non- 
production of the documents. 

" Have a good time, Sis," called Will over 
the wire. " Don't worry. It doesn't do any 
good, and it will spoil your cruise. Something 
may turn up any time. But it sure is queer how 
Prince can be away so long." 

" It certainly is," agreed Grace. 

"And so you expect to make Rainbow Lake 
by six bells?' asked Betty's uncle, as he paced 
up and down the rather restricted quarters of 
the deck. 

"Yes, Uncle, by seven o'clock," answered 
Betty, who was at the wheel. 

" Six bells six bells ! " he exclaimed. " You 
must talk sea lingo on a boat, Bet." 

" All right, Uncle six bells." 



112 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE. 

"Where's your charts?" he asked, suddenly. 

"Charts?" 

Yes, how are you sailing? Have you 
marked the course since last night and posted 
it? Where are your charts your maps? How 
do you expect to make Rainbow Lake without 
some kind of charts? Are you going by dead 
reckoning? ' 

Why, Uncle, all we have to do is to keep 
right on down the river, and it opens into Rain- 
bow Lake. The lake is really a wide part of the 
river, you know. We don't need any charts ! * 

' Don't need any charts? Have you heaved 
th'e lead to see how much water you've got ? ' 

"Why, no," ^nd she looked at him wonder- 



" Well, well ! " he exclaimed. " Oh, I forgot 
this isn't salt water. Well, I dare say you will 
stumble into the lake after some fashion but it 
isn't seaman-like it isn't seaman-like," and the 
old tar shook his grizzled head gloomily. 

Betty smiled, and shifted her course a little to 
give a wide berth to some boys who were fish- 
ing. She did not want the propeller's wash to 
disturb them. They waved gratefully to her, 

The sun was declining in the West, amid a 
bank of golden, olive and purple clouds, and a 
little breeze ruffled the water of the river. The 



AT RAINBOW LAKE 

stream was widening out now, and Betty re- 
marked : 

: We'll soon be in the lake now." 
The boat not us, I hope," murmured Grace. 

"Of course," assented Betty. "Won't you 
stay with us to-night, Uncle Amos? ' she asked, 
as she opened the throttle a little wider, to get 
more speed. " You can have one of the rear ' 
I mean after, bunks," she corrected, quickly. 

"That's better," and he smiled. "No, I'll 
berth ashore, I guess. I've got to get back to 
town, anyhow. I just wanted to see how you 
girls were getting along." 

The Gem was speeding up. They rounded a 
turn, and then the girls exclaimed: 

" Rainbow Lake ! " 

In all its beauty this wide sheet of water lay 
before them. It was dotted with many pleasure 
craft, for vacation life was pulsing and throb- 
bing in its summer heydey now. As the Gem 
came out on the broad expanse a natty little 
motor boat, long and slender, evidently built for 
speed, came racing straight toward the craft of 
the girls. 

" Gracious, I hope we haven't violated any 
rules," murmured Betty, as she slowed down, for 
she caught a motion that indicated that the two 
young men in the boat wished to speak to her. 



114 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE, 

As they came nearer Grace uttered an ex- 
clamation. 

"What is it? "asked Mollie. 

"Those young men in the boat. I'm sure 
they're the same two who were in the auto that 
made Prince run away ! Oh, what shall I do ? " 



CHAPTER XIII 
CRACKERS AND OLIVES 

BETTY grasped the situation, and acted quickly, 
as she always did in an emergency. 

K Are you sure, Grace ? " she asked. She could 
speak without fear of the men in the racing boat 
overhearing her, for they had thrown out their 
clutch, a moment later letting it slip into reverse, 
and the churning propeller, and the throb of the 
motor, made it impossible for them to hear what 
was said aboard the Gem. "Are you sure, 
Grace?' repeated Betty. 

"Well, almost. Of course I only Had a 
glimpse of them, but I have good cause to re- 
member them." 

"Don't say anything now, then," suggested 
Betty. " We will wait and see what they say. 
Later we may be able to make sure." 

" All right," Grace agreed, looking intently at 
the two young men. They seemed nice enough, 
and were smiling in a pleasant, frank manner 
at the outdoor girls and Aunt Kate. The two 

us 



Il6 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE, 

boats were now slowly drifting side by side on 
Rainbow Lake, the motors of both stilled. 

' I beg your pardon," said the darker com- 
plexioned of the two men, " my name is Stone, 
and this is my friend, Mr. Kennedy. We are on 
the regatta committee and we'd like to get as 
many entries for the water pageant as we can. 
Is your boat entered yet?' 

He gazed from one girl to another, as though 
to ascertain who was in command of the newly- 
arrived craft, which seemed to have attracted con- 
siderable attention, for a number of other boats 
were centering about her. 

" We have just arrived," spoke Betty in Her 
capacity as captain. " We are cruising about, 
and we haven't heard of any regatta or pageant, 
except a rumor that one was to be held some 
time this summer." 

"Well, it's only been in process bl arrange- 
ment for about a week," explained Mr. Stone. 
" It will be the first of its kind to be held on 
the lake, and we want it to be a success. Nearly 
all of the campers and summer cottagers, who 
have motor boats, have agreed to enter the pa- 
rade, and also in the races. We'd like to enter 
you in both. We have different classes, hand- 
icapped according to speed, and your craft looks 
as though it could go some." 



CRACKERS ANU OLIVES 

*' It can," Betty admitted, while Grace was in- 
tently studying the faces of the two young men. 
The more she looked at them, the more con- 
vinced she was that they were the ones who had 
been in the auto. 

" We saw you arrive," said Mr. Kennedy, who, 
Mollie said afterward, had a pleasant voice, " and 
iwe hurried over to get you down on the list the 
first thing." 

" Don't Disappoint us say you'll enter! ' 
urged Mr. Stone. " You don't know us, of 
course, but I have taken the liberty of intro- 
ducing rfiyself. If you are acquainted with any 
of the cottagers on the lake shore, or on Triangle 
Island, you can ask them about us." 

" Oh, we are very glad you invited us," replied 
Betty, quickly. She did not want the young men 
to think that she resented anything. Besides, if 
what Grace thought about them was so, they 
would want a chance to inquire about the young 
men more closely, perhaps, than the young men 
themselves would care to be looked after. For 
Betty recalled what Grace had said that her 
father had a faint idea that perhaps the motorists 
might have acted as they did purposely, to get 
possession of the papers. 

"Then you'll enter?" asked Mr. Kennedy. 

*' We can't be sure," spoke Betty, who seemeH 



Il8 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

to be doing all the talking. " Our plans are un- 
certain, we have no very definite ones, though. 
We intended merely to cruise about, and per- 
haps camp on one of the islands for a few days. 
But if we find we can, we will at least take part 
in the water pageant that is, in the parade with 
the other boats." 

" And we'd like you to be in the races," sug- 
gested Mr. Kennedy. " Your boat has very fine 
lines. What horse power have you? ' 

" It is rated twenty," answered Betty, 
promptly, proud that she had the knowledge 
at her tongue's end, " but it develops nearer 
twenty-five." 

" Then you'd go in Class B," said Mr. Stone. 
"I will enter you, tentatively at least, for that 
race, and if you find you can't compete, no harm 
will be done. There are some very handsome 
prizes." 

"Oh, do enter, Bet!" exclaimed Mollie in a 
whisper, for she was fond of sports of all kinds. 
"It will be such jolly fun!" 

Betty looked at her aunt. Racing had not 
entered into their plans when they talked them 
over with the folks at home. 

" I think you might ; they seem very nice, and 
we can easily find out if other girls are to race," 
said Aunt Kate, in a low voice. 



CRACKERS AND OLIVES 

" You may enter my boat, then," said Betty, 
graciously. 

"Thank you!" exclaimed Mr. Stone. "The 
Gem goes in, and her captain's name ?' 

" Miss Nelson." 

"Of ?' again he paused suggestively, 

pencil poised. 

"Of Deepdale." 

' Oh, yes, I have been there. I am sure you 
will not regret having decided to enter the re- 
gatta. Now if you would like to tie up for the 
night there are several good public docks near 
here. That one over there," and he pointed, " is 
used by very few other boats, and perhaps you 
would like it. Plenty of room, you know." 

" Thank you," said Betty. " We shall go over 
there." 

" I will send you a formal entry blank to- 
morrow," said Mr. Stone, as his companion 
started the motor, and a moment later they were 
rushing off in a smother of foam thrown up by 
the powerful racing craft. 

"Well, what do you think of that?' gaspe8 
Mollie, when they had gone. " No sooner do we 
arrive than we are plunged into the midst of * 
er the midst of what is it I want to say?.' 
She laughed and looked about for assistance. 

"Better give it up," said Amy. "But what 



120 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 
Grace said surprises me about those two young 



men.' 



" Well, of course I can't be sure of it," said 
Grace, as all eyes were turned in her direction, 
"but the more I look at those two the more I 
really think they are the ones. I wonder if there 
isn't some way I could make sure?' 

" Yes," said practical Betty, " there is. Thai 
is why I decided to enter the Gem in the regatta 
It will give us a chance to do a little quiet inves- 
tigating." 

"But how?' inquired Grace, puzzled. 

Well, if we make some inquiries, and find 
out that they are all right to talk to and they 
may be in spite of the mean way they acted 
toward you why, then, we can question them, 
and gradually lead the talk around to autos, and 
racing, and storms, and all that. They'll prob- 
ably let out something about having been caught 
in a storm once, and seeing a horse run away. 
Then we will be sure they are the same ones, 
and well, I don't know what would be the best 
thing to do then, Grace." 

" Grace had better notify her father or brother 
if she finds out these are the men," suggested 
Aunt Kate. " They would be the best ones to 
act after that." 

"Surely," agreed Grace. "That's what I'll 



CRACKERS AND OLIVES 121 

cfo. And now let's go over to the dock, and see 
about supper. I'm as hungry as a starved kit* 
ten." 

'And with all the candy she's eaten since 
lunch!' exclaimed Mollie. 

" I didn't eat much at all ! ' came promptly 
from Grace. "Did I, Amy?" 

" I wasn't watching. Anyhow, I am hungry, 
too." 

"I fancy we all are," spoke Betty. "Well, 
we will soon be there," and she started the motor, 
and swung the prow of the Gem over toward 
the r^ck. 

There were one or two small open motor boats 
tied there, but they were not manned. The girls 
made sure of their cable fastenings, and soon the 
appetizing odor of cooking came from the small 
galley. The girls donned long aprons over their 
sailor costumes, and ate out on the open deck, 
for it was rather close in the cabin. 

" It is as sultry as though there were going to 
be a storm," remarked Betty, looking up at the 
sky, which was taking on the tints of evening. 
" I am glad we're not going to be out on the lake 
to-night." 

" Aren't we ever going to do any night-cruis- 
ing?' 1 asked Mollie, who was a bit venturesome 
at times. 



122 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW. LAKE 

" Oh, of course. Why, the main water pa- 
geant takes place at night, one of those young 
men said, and we'll be in that. Only I'm just as 
glad we're tied up to-night," spoke Betty. 

Near where they had docked was a little col- 
ony of summer cottages, and not far off was an 
amusement resort, including a moving picture 
show. 

" Let's go, girls ! ' proposed Grace after sup- 
per. " We don't want to sit around all evening 
doing nothing. The boat will be safe; won't it, 
Betty?" 

" Don't say * it ' my boat is a lady speak 
of her as such/' laughed the Little Captain. 
" Yes, I think she will be safe. But I will see if 
there is a dock watchman, and if there is Til en- 
gage him." 

There proved to be one, who, for a small fee, 
would see that no unauthorized persons entered 
the Gem. Then the girls, attiring themselves in 
their " shore togs," as Betty expressed it, went 
to see the moving pictures. 

"What will we do to-morrow?" asked Grace, 
as they came out, having had two hours of en- 
joyment. 

" I was thinking of a little picnic ashore," an- 
swered Betty. " There are some lovely places on 
the banks of the kke, to say nothing of the sev- 



CRACKERS AND. OLIVES 



small islands. We can cruise about a bit, 
and then go ashore with our lunch. Or, if any[ 
of you have any other plan, don't hesitate to 
mention it. I want you girls to have a good 
time." 

"As if we weren't having it, Little Captain! " 
cried Mollie with an impulsive embrace. " The 
picnic by all means, and please let's take plenty 
of crackers and olives." 

" Talk about me eating candy," mocked Grace, 
" you are as bad on olives." 

"Well, they're not so bad for one a$ candy." 

" I don't know about that." 

" Oh, don't argue ! ' begged quiet little Amy. 
"'Let's talk about the picnic." 

It was arranged that they should have an in- 
formal one, and the next morning, after an un- 
eventful night save that Grace awakened them 
all by declaring someone was coming aboard, 
when it proved to be only a frightened dog - 
the next morning they started orT again, leaving 
word with the dock watchman, who did boat re- 
pairing, that they would be back late that after- 
noon. 

They had made some inquiries, and decided to 
go ashore on Eel Island, so named from its long, 
narrow shape. There was a small dock there, 
which made it easy for the Gem to land her pas* 



THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

sengers, since she drew a little too much water 
to get right up to shore. 

The girls cruised about Rainbow Lake, being 
saluted many times by other craft, the occupants 
of which seemed to admire Betty's fine boat. In 
turn she answered with the regulation three 
blasts of the air whistle. At several private 
docks, the property of wealthy cottagers, could 
be seen signs of preparation for the coming wa- 
ter carnival. The boat houses were being deco- 
rated, and in some cases elaborate schemes of or- 
namentation were under way for the boats them- 
selves. 

" It looks as though it would be nice," re- 
marked Mollie. 

"Yes, I think we shall enjoy it," agreed 
Betty. 

They stopped at one cottage, occupied by a 
Mrs. Ralston, whom Betty knew slightly. Mrs. 
Ralston wanted the girls and Aunt Kate to stay 
to lunch, but they told of their picnic plans. 
They wanted to inquire about Mr. Stone and 
Mr. Kennedy, and they were all glad to learn 
that the two young men were held in the highest 
esteem, and were given a great deal of credit for 
their hard work in connection with the lake pa- 
geant. 

"And to think they could be so unfeeling as 



CRACKERS AND OLIVES 125 

Jo make Prince run away and cause all that 
trouble," observed Mollie, |as they, were agaift 
aboard the boat 

"Perhaps it was not they, or there may be 
some explanation of their conduct," suggested 
Betty. " We must not judge too hastily." 

" That's Betty Nelson all over," said !my. 

Eel Island proved to be an ideal picnic place, 
and there were one or two other parties on it 
when the girls arrived. They made the Geiti, Se- 
cure, and struck off into the woods with tfieir 
lunch baskets, Betty having removed a certain 
patented spark plug, without which the motor 
could not be started. It was not likely that any- 
one would be able to duplicate it and make off 
with the craft in their absence, 60 they felt it 
safe to leave the boat unguarded. 

" Pass the olives, Grace my dear," requested 
Mollie, when they were seated on a grassy knoll 
under a big oak tree. " I have the crackers be- 
side me. Now I am happy," and she munched 
the appetizing combination. 

" Crackers and olives ! ' murmured Bettyt 
" Our old schoolday feast. I haven't gotten over 
my love for them, either. Let them circulate, 
Mollie." 

The girls were making merry witfi quip Sn3 
jest when Grace, hearing a crackling of under- 



THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE, 

brush, looked back along the path they had come. 
She started and exclaimed: 

" Here come those two young men Mr, 
Stone and Mr. Kennedy." 

" Don't notice them," begged Amy, who was 
not much given to making new acquaintances. 

" Too late ! They see us they're coming 
right toward us ! ' cried Grace, in some confu- 
sion. 



CHAPTER XIV 

THE REGATTA 

THE two young men came on, apparently witK 
the object of speaking to the girls. Evidently 
they had purposely sought them out. 

" Oh, it is Miss Nelson, and her friends from 
the Gem!" exclaimed Mr. Stone, which might 
indicate that he had expected to meet some other 
party of picnic lovers. 

" I hope we are not intruding/* said Mr. Ken- 
nedy, " but we want to borrow some salt, if you 
have any." 

Betty looked at them curiously. Was this a 
subterfuge a means to an acquaintance? Her 
manner stiffened a trifle, and she glanced at Auni 
Kate. 

" You see we came off on a little picnic like 
yourselves," explained Mr. Stone, " and Bob* 
here, forgot the salt." 

" You told me you'd put it in yourself, 
Harry ! ' ' exclaimed the other, " and of course 1 
thought you did." 

* Well, be that as it may," said his friend, " we 

127 



128 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

have no salt. We heard your voices over here 
and decided to be bold enough to ask for some. 
Do you remember us, Miss Nelson ?' 

" Oh, yes/' Betty's manner softened. The 
explanation was sufficient. Clearly the young 
men had not resorted to this trick to scrape an 
acquaintance with the girls. 

" Is there anything else you'd like? " asked im- 
pulsive Mollie. " Grace has plenty of candy, I 
think, and as for olives " she tilted one empty 
bottle, and smiled. Mr. Kennedy smiled back in 
a frank manner. Betty decided that introduc- 
tions would be in good form, since they had 
learned that the young men were "perfectly 
proper." 

Names were exchanged, and Mr. Kennedy and 
his friend sat down on the grass. They did not 
seem in any special hurry about the salt, now 
that it was offered. 

: We hope you haven't changed your minds 
about the race and regatta," spoke Mr. Stone, 
after some generalities had been exchanged. " By 
the way, I have the entry blanks for you," and 
he passed the papers to Betty, who accepted them 
with murmured thanks. 

r We shall very likely enter both the pageant 
and the race," she said. "When do they take 
ptecs?" 



THE REGATTA 



The pageant will be held two nights hence. 
That will really open the carnival. The boats* 
decorated as suit the fancies of the owners, will 
form in line, and move about the lake, past the 
judges' stand. There will be prizes for the mcvst 
beautifully decorated boat, the oddest, and also 
the worst, if you understand me. I mean by the 
last that some captains have decided to make 
their boats look like wrecks, striving after queer 
effects." 

" I should not like that," said Betty, decidedly. 
' But if there is time, and we can do it, we migQ 
decorate?' and she looked at her chums ques- 
tioningly. 

" Surely," said Grace, and Mollie took tfie 
chance to whisper to her: 

'' Why don't you start some questions? ' 

" I will if I get a chance," was the answer. 

Betty was finding out more about the carnival 
when the start would be made, the course and 
other details. The races would take place the 
day after the boat parade. 

" There will be canoe and rowing races, as 
well as tub and ' upset ' events," said Mr. Stone* 
" We are also planning to have a swimming and 
diving contest the latter part of the regatta weeK, 
but I don't suppose you young ladies would care 
to enter that." 



THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

" We all swim, and we have our bathing suits," 
said Mollie, indefinitely. 

" Mollie dives beautifully!' exclaimed Amy. 

" I do not that is, I'm not an expert at it," 
Mollie hastened to say. " But I love diving." 

"Then why not enter?' asked Mr. Kennedy. 
"I am chairman of that committee. I'll put the 
names of you girls down, if you don't mind. It 
doesn't commit you to anything." 

The girls had no formal objections. 

" You are real out-door girls, I can see that ! ' 
complimented Mr. Stone. " You must like life 
an the woods and on the lake." 

" Indeed they do," spoke Aunt Kate. " They 
walked I think it was two hundred miles, just 
before coming on this cruise; didn't you, Betty? ' 
" Yes, but we took it by easy stages," evaded 
the Little Captain. 

"That was fine!" exclaimed Mr. Kennedy. 
" Well, Harry, if we're going to eat we'd better 
take our salt and go." 

"Won't you have some of our sandwiches?' 
asked Mollie, impulsive as usual. " We have 
more than we can eat," for they had brought 
along a most substantial lunch. Mollie looked at 
Betty and Aunt Kate. They registered no objec- 
tions. 

" You are very good," protested Mr. Kennedy, 



HE REGATTA 131 



"but really we don't want to deprive you " 

" It will be no deprivation," said Betty. " We 
will be glad not to have them wasted " 

" Oh, then by all means let us be the waste- 
baskets ! ' exclaimed Mr. Stone, laughing. 

"Oh, I didn't mean just that," and Betty 
blushed. 

" I understand," he replied, and Aunt Kate 
passed over a plate of chicken sandwiches. Un- 
der cover of opening another bottle of olives, 
Mollie whispered to Grace : 

" Ask him some questions start on motoring 
* ask if they ever motored near Deepdale." 

" I will," whispered Grace, and, as the two 
young men ate, she led the topic of talk to auto- 
mobiles. 

" Do you motor? " she asked, looking directly 
at Mr. Stone. She was certain now that at least 
he had been in the car that caused Prince to run 
away. 

"Oh, yes, often," he answered. "Do you?" 

" No, but I am very fond of horseback rid- 
ing," she said. She was certain that Mr. Stone 
started. 

" Indeed," said he, " that is something I never 
cared about. Frankly, I am afraid of horses. I 
saw one run away once, with a young lady, 
and- 



132 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

" Do you mean that time we were speeding up 
to get out of the storm? " his friend interrupted, 
" and we hit a stone, swerved over toward the 
animal, and nearly struck it?* 

" Yes, that was the time," answered Mr. Stone. 
Grace could hardly refrain from crying out that 
she was on that same horse. 

" I have always wondered who that girl was," 
Mr. Stone went on, " and some day I mean to go 
back to the scene of the accident, and see if I 
can find out. I have an idea she blames us for 
her horse running away. But it was an accident, 
pure and simple; wasn't it, Bob?' 

" It certainly was. You see it was this way/* 
he explained, and Grace felt sure they would aslc 
her why she was so pale, for the blood had left 
her cheeks on hearing that the young men were 
really those she had suspected. " Harry, here, 
and myself," went on Mr. Kennedy, 'had beefl 
out for a little run, to transact some business. 
We were on a country road, and a storm was 
coming up. We put on speed, because we 'did 
not want to get wet, and I had to be at a tele- 
graph office at a certain time to complete a deal 
by wire. 

" Just afieacl of us was a girl on a white Horse. 
The animal seemed frightened at the storm, an'd 
Just as we came racing past our car struct a 



THE REGATTA 



133 



stone, and was jolted right over toward the ani- 
mal. I am not sure but what we hit it. Any- 
how the horse bolted. The girl looked able to 
manage it, and as it was absolutely necessary for 
us to keep on, we did so." 

" I looked back, and I thought I saw the horse 
stumble with the girl/* put in Mr. Stone, " but I 
was not sure, and then the rain came pelting 
down, and the road was so bad that it took both 
of us to manage the car. We were late, too. 
But we meant to go back and see if any accident 
happened." 

" Only when we got to the telegraph office," 
supplied his friend, " we were at once called to 
New York in haste, and so many things have 
come up since that we never got the chance. Tell 
me," he said earnestly, " you girls live in Deep- 
dale. This happened not far from there. Did 
you ever hear of a girl on a white horse being 
seriously hurt? ' 

Grace made a motion to her chums to keep 
silent about the whole affair, and let her answer. 
She had her reasons. 

" There was no report of any girl being seri- 
ously hurt at the time you mention," she said, a 
trifle coolly, " but a little child was knocked down 
by a horse a white horse. It may have been 
the one you scared." 



JT34 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

"But unintentionally unintentionally! I 
hope you believe that ! ' said Mr. Stone ear- 
nestly. 

" Oh yes of course," and Grace's voice was 
not quits so cold now. She could readily under- 
stand that the accident could have happened in 
just that way, and it was beginning to look so. 
Certainly, not knowing the girls, the young man 
could have no object in deceiving them. 

" A little child knocked down, you say ! ' ex- 
claimed Mr. Kennedy. " I hope it was not badly 
hurt. Who was it?" 

" My " began Mollie, and she way om the 
point of saying it was her sister Dodo, when 
from the lake there sounded the cry of: 

"Fire! Fire! Fire!" 

Then came a sharp explosion. 

Everyone arose, and Mr. Kennedy exclaimed 
excitedly : 

" That must be an explosion on a motor boat. 
Come on, Harry. We may be needed ! ' 

They rushed through the bushes toward the 
place whence the alarm came, the girls following 
as fast as they could. 

" Don't let him know it was I, or that it was 
your sister who was hurt!' Grace cautioned her 
chums. " I am going to write to papa, and he 
can make an investigation. Their explanation 



THE REGATTA 135 

sounds all right, but they may have the papers 
after all. I'm going to write to-day." 

" I would," advised Aunt Kate." " It may 
amount to nothing, bnt it can do no harm to let 
your father know. And I think it wise not to let 
these young men know that you were in that 
runaway. If they really were not careless, as it 
seemed at first, you can tell them later, when you 
see how the investigation by Mr. Ford turns 
put." 

" That will be best," spoke Betty. " Oh, see, 
It is a boat on fire ! ' 

They had reached a place where they could see 
a small motor boat, not far from shore, wrapped 
in a pall of black smoke, through which could be 
observed flickering flames. 

"There he's jumped!' cried Mollie, as a 
figure leaped from the burning craft. " He's 
cafe, anyhow." 

" There go Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Stone in 
, their boat! " exclaimed Grace, as the slender rac- 
ing craft shot out from shore. 

Whatever may have been the faults of the 
young men as motorists, they knew how to act 
promptly in this case. As they passed the man 
who had leaped from the burning boat they 
tossed him a life preserver. 

Then, nearing the burning boat, they halted 



136 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW 

their own, and began using a chemical extin- 
guisher the only safe thing save sand witK 
which to fight a gasoline blaze. The fire did not 
have a chance to get much headway, and it was 
soon out, another boat coming up and lending 
aid. 

The man who had jumped was taken aboard 
this second boat, and his own, rather charred but 
not seriously damaged, was towed to shore. Later 
the girls learned that there had been some gaso- 
line which leaked from his tank. He had been 
repairing his motor, which had stalled, when a 
spark from the electric wire set fire to the gaso- 
line. There was a slight explosion, followed by 
the fire. 

"And it came just in time to stop me from 
telling what might have spoiled your plans, 
Grace," said Mollie, when they went back to 
gather up their lunch baskets. 

" Well, I haven't any plans. I am going to let 
father or Will make them, after I send the infor- 
mation/' she answered. " But I think it best to lei 
the two young men remain in ignorance, for 3 
while." 

"Oh, I 'do, too!" exclaimed Betty. "They 
will probably not refer to it again, being so busy 
over the regatta." 

There was a busy time for the girls, too. They 



REGATTA 1353 

had decided to convert the r Gem, as nearly as 
possible under the circumstances, into a Vene- 
tian gondola. By building a light wooden frame- 
work about it, and tacking on muslin, this could 
be done without too much labor. Betty engaged 
the help of a man and boy, and with the girls to 
aid the work was soon well under way. 

The girls saw little of Mr. Kennedy and Mr. 
Stone save passing glimpses after the picnic. 
Grace telephoned to her father, who promised 
to at once look into the matter. 

" I do hope we win a prize ! ' exclaimed Mol- 
lie, on the evening of the regatta. " The Gem 
looks lovely ! ' 

"Yes, I think it is rather nice," admitted 
Betty. 

The muslin, drawn tightly over the temporary 
frame, had been painted until in the dark the 
boat bore a striking resemblance to a gondola, 
even to the odd prow in front. It was arranged 
that Grace should stand at the stern with a long 
oar, or what was to pass for it, while Betty 
would run the motor and do tfie real steering. 
Mollie, Amy, and Aunt Kate were to be passen- 
gers. Mollie borrowed a guitar and there was 
to be music and singing as they took part in the 
\water pageant. 

"Well, it's time to start," announced Betty] 



THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT. RAINBOW LAKB 

after supper. " We'll light the Chinese lanterns 
after we get to our place in line," for the boats 
(were to be illuminated. 

The Gem started off, being in the midst of 
many craft, all more or less decorated, that were 
to take part in the affair. 



CHAPTER XV 

THE RACE 

LIKE the scene from some simulated fairy- 
land, or a stage picture, was the water pageant 
on Rainbow Lake. In double lines the motor 
boats moved slowly along from the starting point 
toward the float where the judges were sta- 
tioned to decide which craft was entitled to the 
prize in its own class. 

" Oh, I'm so glad we entered ! " cried Betty, 
as she stood at the wheel. Because of the cloth 
side of the " gondola ' it appeared that she was 
merely reclining at her ease, as did the Venetian 
ladies of old, for a seat with cushions had been 
arranged near the steering wheel. 

" Oh, see that boat just like an airship ! " ex- 
claimed Mollie, as they saw just ahead of them 
a craft so decorated. 

" And here's one that looks just like a floating 
island, with trees and bushes," added Amy. 
" That ought to take a prize." 

139 



140 



THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKB 



' We ought to take one ourselves! " exclaimed 
Mollie. " We worked hard enough. My hands 
are a mass of blisters." 

" And my back aches ! " declared Grace. " But 
it was worth while. I don't see any boat just 
like ours," and she glanced along the line of craft 
ahead of them, and to those in the rear, as they 
twere making a turn just then. 

"Oh, there's one of the lanterns gone out!' 
cried Mollie. " I'll light it," and she proceeded 
to do so, taking it into the cabin because of the 
little breeze that blew over the lake. 

There was a band on one of the larger boats, 
and this played at intervals. 

" Let's sing ! ' proposed Grace, and, with gui- 
tar accompaniment, the girls mingled their voices 
in one of the many part-songs they had prac- 
ticed at school. Applause followed their rendi- 
tion, for they had chosen a time when there was 
comparative quiet. 

Around the course went the flotilla of boats, 
past the judges' float, and back to the starting 
point. Then the parade was over, but a number 
of affairs had been arranged dances, suppers 
and the like by different cottagers. The girls 
had been invited to the dance at the headquarters 
of the Rainbow Lake Yacht Club, and they had 
accepted. They had dressed for the affair, and 



THE RACE I4f 

tying their boat to the club dock they went into 
the pretty little ballroom with Aunt Kate. 

"Congratulations!* exclaimed Mr. Kennedy, 
stepping up to Betty as she entered with her 
chums. 

"For what?" 

" Your boat won first prize for those of most 
original design. It is a beautiful silver cup." 

" Oh, I'm so glad ! Girls, do you hear? We 
won first prize in our class ! " 

" Fine ! " cried Mollie, 

"Oh, isn't it nice?" said Amy. 

"Did we really?" asked Grace, somewhat in- 
credulously. 

" You really did. I just heard the decision of 
the judges. Harry and I are out of it, thougH. 
We tried in the ' wreck ' class, but the Rabbit, 
which was rigged out like the 'Flying Dutchman, 
beat us." 

"That's too Ea'd," said Mollie, sympathet- 
ically. 

" Never mind, we've had our fun," said Mr. 
Stone, coming up at this point. " You girls cer- 
tainly deserved the prize, if anyone did. And 
now I hope your dance cards aren't filled." 

They were not but they soon were, and tfie 
evening passed most delightfully. 

"Who said breakfast?" yawned Grace the 



142 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

next morning, as she looked from her bunk down 
on Betty. 

" I ate so much lobster salad last night I don't 
want anything but a glass of water on toast," 
murmured Mollie. " Oh, but we had a lovely 
time! " and she sighed in regret at its departure. 

" And those young men were lovely dancers," 
said Betty. 

" And wasn't it nice of Will, Frank, and Allen 
to come? ' spoke Amy, for Grace's brother, and 
his two friends, had arrived most unexpectedly 
at the Yacht Club ball. Will had come to tell his 
sister certain things in regard to the missing pa- 
pers, and had met a friend who belonged to the 
club. 

Naturally there was an invitation to the dance, 
which was quite informal in a way, and so the 
three boys from Deepdale had also had a good 
time. They were put up at the club over night. 

It developed that Mr. Ford had investigated 
certain matters in regard to Mr. Kennedy and 
Mr. Stone, and had learned that by no possibility 
could they have secured the missing papers. 
There would have been absolutely no interest in 
the documents for them. It was merely a coin- 
cidence that they had been on the scene. And 
this news made their explanation about the auto 
accident most plausible. 



THE RACE 

Will had come to Rainbow Lake to tell his sis- 
ter this, to relieve her mind. When he men- 
tioned coming he had told Frank and Allen, ask- 
ing them to go with him. All the boys expected 
to do was to spend the evening on board the 
Gem with the girls, but when they arrived, and 
learned of the pageant, and Will met his club 
friend, the plans were changed. 

" Too bad Percy Falconer didn't come," re- 
marked Grace, as she slipped into her dressing 
gown. 

" Don't spoil everything," begged Betty. 
" You know I detest him ! ' 

Gradually the girls got breakfast, talking of 
the events of the night before. 

" I wonder when we will get our prize? " said 
Betty. " I am wild to see it. I hope it's that 
oddly shaped cup we so admired when we looked 
at the prizes." 

It proved to be that one, the trophy being sent 
over to the dock where the Gem was tied, by a 
special messenger. It was given the place of 
honor in the cabin. 

Will and his two chums went home rather late 
that day. 

" Is father much worried about the missing 
papers?' asked Grace, as she parted from her 
brother. 



144 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

' He sure is. He's afraid the other side may 
spring something on him any minute." 

You mean take some action to get the 
property? ' 

" Yes." 

" It's too bad. But I don't see what we can 
do." 

" Neither do I. I wish I could find Prince. 
I think that's the queerest thing, about him." 

" It certainly is. Say, Will, how is poor little 
Dodo getting on?' 

" Oh, as well as you can expect. They're go- 
ing to operate soon, I heard. How is Mollie 
standing it, Grace?' 

" Fairly well. Isn't it strange that we should 
meet the two autoists? ' 

" Yes. Have you put them wise yet? ' 

"Wise? What do you mean? Such slang!' 

" I mean told 'em who you are? ' 

" No, and we're not going to for a while yet. 
We don't want to make them feel bad." 

" All right, suit yourselves. We're coming up 
and see you when you get in camp." 

" Yes, do. We'll write when we're settled." 

Preparations for the race were going on, and 
the Gem, as were the other boats, was being 
groomed for the contest. She had been con- 
verted into her own self again, and Betty had 



THE RACE, 145 

engaged a man to look over the motor, and make 
a few adjustments of which she was not quite 
capable. 

Uncle Amos came to Rainbow Lake to see the 
girls and the boat. He was not much impressed 
with the sheet of water, large as it was, but he 
did take considerable interest in the coming race, 
and insisted on personally doing a lot of work to 
the boat to get her " ship-shape." 

So that when the Gem was ready to go to the 
starting line she was prepared to make the " try 
of her life," as Betty expressed it. 

There were six boats in the class that included 
the Gem. Some were about the same size, one 
was larger and one was smaller. In horse power 
they rated about the same, but some handicap- 
ping had been done by the judges. The Gem 
was to start four minutes after the first boat got 
away, and of course she would have to make up 
this time to win. 

" But we can do it ! ' declared Betty, confi- 
dently. 

As they were on their way to the starting line 
the girls noticed two boys rowing along the 
shore, looking intently as they proceeded. 

" Say, you haven't seen a big green canoe, witK 
an Indian's head painted in red on each end ; have 
you? " asked one of the lads. 



j 4 6 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

" No ; why ? ' ' asked Grace. 

' Someone took ours last night," spoke the 
other boy. : We were going in the races with 
it, too. It was a dandy canoe ! ' ' and he seemed 
much depressed. 

; That's too bad," spoke Betty sympathetically. 
' If we see anything of your canoe we'll let you 
know." 

"Just send word to Tom Cardiff, over at 
Shaffer's dock ! ' cried the elder boy eagerly. 
" There's a reward of two dollars for anyone 
(who finds it." 

" Poor fellows! " said Betty as they rowed off. 
" I'd give two dollars of my own now if we 
could find their canoe for them. They must be 
dreadfully disappointed. Well, shall we start?' 

"Yes, let's get it over with," replied Grace, 
nervously. 

Grace and Amy were selected to look after the 
motor, they having been " coached ' by Uncle 
Amos for several days. They were to see that it 
did not lack for oil, and if anything got out of 
adjustment they could fix it. They would be 
stationed well forward in the cabin, and the bulk- 
head being removed, they could easily get at the 
machinery. 

Betty and Mollie would be at the wheel. Aunt 
Kate declined to take part in the race, and UncLl 



THE RACE. 147 

Amos was not eligible under the rules, this being 
strictly a race for girls and women. 

Several events were run off before the Class 

. B race was called. Then the boats, including the 

Gem, moved up, and were formally inspected to 

make sure that all the rules and regulations had 

been complied with. No fault was found. 

"Are you all ready?' asked the starter. 

" Ready," was the answer, and the first boat 
shot away. It was nervous waiting for Betty 
and her chums those four minutes but they 
finally passed. 

" Ready ? ' ' asked the starter again. 

" Ready," answered Betty, her voice trembling 
in spite of herself. There was a sharp crack of 
the pistol, and the Gem shot ahead, as Betty let 
the clutch slip into place. The race was on! 



CHAPTER XVI 

FIGHTING FIRE 

' BETTY, do you think we can win ? ' 

It was Mollie who asked this as she stood be- 
side her chum at the wheel of the Gem. The 
boat was churning through the water, gradually- 
creeping up on the craft that had gotten away 
ahead of her. Behind came other boats, starting 
as the crack of the official pistol was heard. 

'Of course we'll win!' exclaimed Betty, as 
she changed the course slightly. She wanted to 
keep it as straight as possible, for well she knew 
that the shortest distance between any two points 
is in a straight line. 

" We wouldn't miss that lovely prize for any- 
thing," called Grace from up forward, where she 
was helping Amy look after the laboring motor. 

A number of prizes had been provided by the 
regetta committee; the chief one for this particu- 
lar race was a handsome cut-glass bowl, that had 
been much admired when on exhibition at the 
club house. 

148 



FIGHTING FIRE 149 

The course was a triangular one of three miles, 
and now all the craft that were competing were 
on the last " leg" of the triangle. 

" We're creeping up on her! " whispered Amy, 
as she directed the attention of Grace to the 
boat just ahead of them. It was a light, open 
affair, with a two-cylinder motor, but speedy, 
and two girls in it seemed to be working desper- 
ately over their machinery. Something seemed 
to have gone wrong with one of the cylinders, 
for Betty could detect a " miss ' now and then. 

" Yes, we're coming up," admitted Grace, as 
she skillfully put a little oil on a cam shaft. " If 
we can only hold out ! ' 

" Oh, trust Betty for that." 

" It isn't that it's the motor. One never 
knows when they are not going to ' mote/ But 
this one seems to be coming on well," and Grace 
glanced critically at the various parts. 

They were well out in Rainbow Lake now, 
and many eyes were watching the race. One of 
the last boats to get away had given up, for the 
girls in charge could not remedy the ignition 
trouble that developed soon after they started. 
This left five. The Gem was second in line, but 
behind her a very powerful boat was gradually 
creeping up on her, even as she was overhauling 
the boat that got away first. 



150 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT. RAINBOW LAKE, 

"Can't you turn on a little more gasoline?" 
asked Mollie. 

"I think I can now," spoke Betty. "I 
wanted to give it gradually." 

She opened the trottle a little more, and ad- 
vanced the spark slightly. The result was at 
once apparent. The Gem shot ahead, and the 
girls in the leading boat looked back nervously. 

' One of them is that pretty girl Will danced 
with so often at the ball," said Mollie, as she got 
a glimpse of the rival's face. 

Yes, and the other is her cousin, or some- 
thing," spoke Betty. " I was introduced to her. 
It's mean, perhaps, to beat you, girls," she whis- 
pered. " But I'm going to do it." 

The chugging of many motors the churning 
to foam of the blue waters of the lake a haze 
of acrid smoke hanging over all, as some cylinder 
did not properly digest the gasoline vapor and 
oil fed to it, but sent it out half consumed spray 
thrown up now and then the distant sound 
of a band eager eyes looking toward the stake 
buoys tense breathing all this went to make 
up the race in which our outdoor girls were tak- 
ing part. 

Foot by foot the Gem crept up on the Bug, 
which was the name of the foremost boat. Drop 
by drop Betty fed more gasoline to her striving 



FIGHTING FIRE 151 

motor. The other girls did their duty, if it was 
only encouragement. Those in the Bug worked 
desperately, but it was not to be. The Gem 
passed them. 

" We're sorry ! ' called Betty, as she flashed 
by. The other girls smiled bravely. 

The Gem was now first, but the race was far 
from won. They were on the last leg, however, 
but in the rear, coming on, and overhauling Betty 
and her chums as they had just overhauled the 
others, was the speedy Eagle. She had been last 
to get off, but had passed all the others. 

" They are after us," spoke Mollie, as she Held 
the wheel a moment while Betty tucked under 
her natty yachting cap some wind-tossed locks 
of hair. 

" But they shan't get us," declared the Little 
Captain grimly. " We haven't reached our limit 
yet." 

Once more she gave more gasoline, but the 
rivals in the rear were settling down now to win 
the race for themselves. The Eagle came on 
rapidly. The finish line was near at hand, but it 
seemed that Betty and her chums had the upper 
hand. 

Suddenly Grace cried: 

" One of the wires is broken. It's snapped in 
two, and it's spouting sparks ! ' 



152 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

There came a noticeable slowing down to the 
speed of the motor. The Gem lagged. The 
Eagle was in hot pursuit. Betty acted quickly. 

" Put on those rubber gloves ! ' she ordered. 
" Take a pair of pliers, and hold the ends of that 
wire together. That will make it as good as 
mended until after the race. Amy, you help. 
But wear rubber gloves, and then you won't get 
a shock. Quick, girls ! ' 

The breaking of the wire threw one cylinder 
out of commission. The Gem was one third 
crippled. There came a murmur from the pur- 
suing boat. There was a commotion in the for- 
ward engine compartment of Betty's boat. This 
was caused by Grace and Amy seeking to repair 
the damage. 

A moment later the resumption of the staccato 
exhaust of the motor told that the break had been 
repaired temporarily, at least. The boat shot 
ahead again, at her former speed, and only just 
in time, for her rival was now on even term? 
with her. 

"Oh, Betty, we can't do it!" Mollie said f 
pathetically. "We're going to lose!' 

" We are not ! I've got another notch I can 
slip forward the gasoline throttle, and here it 
goes ! If that doesn't push us ahead nothing will 




THE GEM SHOT OVER THE LINE A WINNER. 
fit OK*tor Girls at Rainbow La fe. 



THE ' : ' K 
PI : . HUM 



AfffOK, 



FIGHTING FIRE, 153 

" We don't get that cut glass," finished Mollie. 

But just that little fraction was what was 
needed. The Gem went ahead almost by inches 
only, but it was enough. The Eagle's crew of 
three girls tried in vain to coax another revolu- 
tion out of her propeller, but it was not to be x 
and the Gem shot over the line a winner. A 
winner, but by so narrow a margin that the 
judges conferred a moment before making the 
announcement. But they finally made it. The 
Gem had undoubtedly won. 

" Oh ! ' exclaimed Grace as she climbed out 
into the cabin, and thence to the deck, followed 
by Amy. " Oh, my hand is numb holding the 
ends of that wire together. I didn't dare let 

go" 

" It was brave of you! " exclaimed Betty, pat- 
ting Grace on the shoulder. " If you had let 
go we would have lost. We'll bathe your hand 
for you in witch hazel." 

" Oh, it is only cramped. It will be all right 
in a little while." 

"What a din they are making!' cried Amy, 
covering her ears with her hands. 

" They are saluting the winner," said Mollie, 
as she noted the tooting of many boat whistles. 
Betty slowed down her boat, and saluted as she 
swept past the boat of the judges. 



154 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT. RAINBOW LAKE 

" Well, I'm glad it's over," sighed Grace. " It 
was nervous work. I'm going to make some 
chocolate, and have it iced. It was warm up 
there by the motor." 

' And you both need baths," remarked Mollie 
with a laugh. You are as grimy as chimney 
sweeps." 

" Yes, but we don't mind," said Amy. " You 
won, Betty ! I'm so glad ! ' 

"We won, you mean," corrected the Little 
Captain. " I couldn't have done it except for 
you girls." 

Many craft saluted the Gem as she came off 
the course. 

' I wish Uncle Amos could have seen us ! ' 
exclaimed Betty. " He would have been proud." 

The girls remained as spectators for the re- 
mainder of the carnival, and then, the day being 
warm, they went to their dock. Near it was a 
sandy bathing beach, and soon they were swim- 
ming about in the limpid waters of Rainbow 
Lake. 

"Here goes for a dive!" cried Mollie, as she 
climbed out on the end of the pier, and mounted 
a mooring post. She poised herself gracefully. 

" Better not you don't know how deep it is," 
cautioned Betty. 

" I'm only going to take a shallow dive/' ,was 



FIGHTING HRE 155 

the answer and then Mollie's slender body shot 
through the air in a graceful curve, and cut down 
into the water. A second later she bobbed up, 
shaking her head to rid her eyes of water. 

" That was lovely! " cried Grace. 

"Did I splash much?" 

" Not at all." 

"It's real deep there," said Mollie. " Some 
day I'm going to try to touch bottom." 

The girls splashed about, refreshing them- 
selves after the race. Then came calm evening, 
when they sat on deck and ate supper prepared 
by Aunt Kate. 

Now you girls just sit right still and enjoy 
yourselves," she told them, when they insisted on 
helping. " You don't win motor boat races 
every day, and you're entitled to a banquet." 

That night there was another informal dance 
at the Yacht Club, and the girls had a splendid 
time. Mr. Stone and Mr. Kennedy exerted 
themselves to see that our friends did not lack 
for partners, and Grace was rather ashamed of 
the suspicions she had entertained concerning the 
twain. 

The carnival came to and end with a series of 
water sports. There were swimming races for 
ladies, and Mollie won one of these, but her 
chums were less fortunate. The carnival had 



156 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

been a great success and many congratulations 
were showered on Messrs. Stone and Kennedy 
for their part in it. 

; We are glad it is over," said Mr. Stone, as 
he and his chums sat on the deck of the Gem 
one evening, having called to ask the girls to go 
to another dance. But Betty and her chums 
voted for staying aboard, and proposed a little 
trip about the lake by moonlight. Soon they 
were under way. 

It was a perfect night, and the mystic gleam of 
the moon moved them to song as they swept 
slowly along under the influence of the throttled- 
down engine. 

Suddenly Mr. Kennedy, who was sitting well 
forward on the trunk cabin with Grace, sprang to 
his feet, exclaiming: 

"What's that?" 

" It looks like a fire," said Grace. 

" It is a fire ! ' cried Mr. Stone. " Say, it's 
that hay barge we noticed coming over this even- 
ing, tied up at Black's dock. It's got adrift and 
caught fire ! ' 

"Look where it's drifting!' exclaimed Betty. 

" Right for the Yacht Club boathouse ! " added 
Mollie. " The wind is taking it there. Look, 
the fire is increasing!' 

" And if it runs against the boat house there'll 



FIGHTING FIRE 15; 

be no saving it! " said Mr. Kennedy. "There's 
no fire-boat up here there ought to be ! ' 

" Girls ! ' cried Betty, " there's just a chance 
to save the boat house ! ' 

" How? ' demanded Amy. 

"If we could get on the windward side of that 
burning barge, throw a line aboard and tow it 
out into the middle of the lake, it could burn 
there without doing any damage!' 

" By Jove ! She's hit the nail on the head ! " 
declared Mr. Stone, with emphasis. " But dare 
you do it, Miss Nelson? ' 

"I certainly will dare if you'll help!' 

"Of course we'll help! Steer over there!' 

The burning hay, fanned by a brisk wind, was 
now sending up a pillar of fire and a cloud of 
smoke. And the barge was drifting perilously 
near the boathouse. |Many whistles otf alarm 
smote the air, but no boat was as near as the 
Gem. 



CHAPTER XVII 

ON ELM ISLAND 

"HAVE you a long rope aboard, Miss Nel- 
son ? ' asked Mr. Stone, when they had drawn 
near to the burning load of hay. 

Yes, you will find it in one of the after lock- 
ers," answered Betty, as she skillfully directed 
the course of her boat so as to get on the wind- 
ward side of the barge. 

' And have you a boathook? I want to fasten 
it to the rope, and see if I can cast it aboard 
the barge." 

1 There is something better than that," went 
on the Little Captain. " I have a small anchor 
a kedge, I think my Uncle Amos called it." 

' Fine, that will be just the thing to cast ! 
Where is it? " 

' In the same locker with the rope. Uncle in- 
sisted that I carry it, though we've never used 
it." 

Well, it will come in mighty handy now," 
declared Mr. Kennedy, as he prepared to assist 
his chum. " You girls had better get in the 
Sabin," he added, " for there is no telling when 

158 



ON ELM ISLAND 159 

the wind may shift, and blow sparks on your 
dresses. They're too nice to have holes burned 
in them," and he gazed, not without proper ad- 
miration, at Betty and her chums. Even in this 
hour of stress and no little danger he could do 
that. 

" We'll put on our raincoats/' suggested Mol- 
lie. " The little sparks from the hay won't burn 
them. Or, if they do, we can have a pail of 
water ready." 

" That's a good idea," commented Mr. Stone, 
who was making the kedge anchor fast to the 
long rope. "Have several pails ready if you 
can. No telling when the sparks may; come 
aboard too fast for us." 

"And we have fire extinguishers, foo," said 
Betty. " Grace, you know where they are in the 
cabin. Get them out." 

" And I'll draw the water," said Mr. Kennedy. 

" I can help at that," added Aunt Kate, bravely. 
" I know where the scrubbing pail is." She had 
insisted on making it one of her duties to scrub 
the deck every day, and for this purpose she kept 
in readiness a pail to which a rope was attached, 
that it might be dropped overboard into the lake 
and hauled up full. This was soon in use. Aunt 
Kate insisted on having several large pots and 
pans also filled. 



t6o THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

" You can't have too much water at a fire," she 
said, practically. 

The burning hay barge was rapidly being 
blown down toward the boathouse. At the latter 
structure quite a throng of club members, and 
others, had gathered in readiness to act when 
the time came. 

In the moonlight they could be seen getting 
pails and tubs of water in readiness, and one 
small line of hose, used to water the lawn, was 
laid. But it would be of small service against 
such a blaze as now enveloped the barge. Many 
boats were hastening to the scene, whistling fran- 
tically as though that helped. 

"Have you got a pump aboard?' some one 
hailed those on the Gem. 

" No, we're going to haul the barge awav," 
answered Betty. 

"Good idea, but don't go too close!" came 
the warning. 

"It is going to be pretty warm," remarked 
Mr. Stone. He had the anchor made fast, and 
with the rope coiled so that it would not foul 
as he made the cast, he took his place on one 
of the after lockers. Betty's plan was to go as 
close to the burning craft as she could, to allow 
the cast to be made. As soon as the prongs of 
the anchor caught, she would head her motor 



ON ELM ISLAND 

boat out toward the middle of the lake, towing 
the barge where it could be anchored and allowed 
to burn to the water's edge. 

" But what are you going to anchor if with ? ' 
asked Mr. Kennedy, when this last feature had 
been discussed. 

" That's so," spoke his chum, reflectively. 

" There's a heavy piece of iron under the mid- 
dle board of the cabin," said Betty. "Uncle 
Amos said it was there for ballast in case we 
wanted to use a sail, but I don't see that we 
need it." 

" We'll use it temporarily, anyhow, for an an- 
chor," decided Mr. Stone. He and his com- 
panion soon had it out, and made fast to the 
other end of the rope. 

" Get ready now ! ' warned Betty, when this 
had been done. " I'm going as close as I can." 

She steered her boat toward the burning barge. 
There came whistles of encouragement from the 
surrounding craft. The heat was intense, and 
on the suggestion of Mr. Kennedy the motor 
boat's decks were kept wet from the water in the 
pails. The girls felt their hands and faces grow 
warm. Those on the boathouse float and pier 
were all anxiety. The flames, blown by the 
wind, seemed to leap across the intervening space 
as if to reach the boat shelter. 



162 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

' Here she goes! " cried Mr. Stone, as he cast 
the anchor. It was skillfully done, and the 
prongs caught on some part of the barge, low 
enough down so that the hempen strands would 
not burn. Mr. Stone pulled on the rope to see 
if it would hold. It did, and he called: 

" Let her go, Miss Nelson ! Gradually though ; 
don't put too much strain on the rope at first! 
After you get the barge started the other way, 
it will be all right." 

Betty sent the Gem ahead. The rope paid out 
over the stern taunted became tight. There 
was a heavy strain on it Would it hold? It 
did, and slowly the hay barge began to move 
out into the lake. 

"Hurray!" cried Mr. Kennedy. "That 
solved the problem." 

" You girls certainly know how to do things/' 
said Mr. Stone, admiringly. 

Cheers from those in surrounding boats 
seemed to emphasize this sentiment. There was 
now no danger to the Yacht Club boathouse. 

A little later, when the flames in the hay were 
at their height, the piece of iron was dropped 
overboard from the Gem. This, with the rope 
and the kedge anchor, served to hold the barge 
in place. There it could burn without doing anjr 
harm. 



ON ELM ISLAND 163 

Soon the fire began to die down, and a little 
later it was but a smouldering mass, not even 
interesting as a spectacle. Betty Nelson's plan 
had worked well, and later she received the 
thanks of the Yacht Club, she and her chums be- 
ing elected honorary life members in recognition 
of the service they had rendered. 

Summer days passed delicious, lazy summer 
days during which the girls motored, canoed or 
rowed as they fancied, went on picnics in the 
woods, or on some of the islands of Rainbow 
Lake, or took long walks. Mr. Stone and Mr. 
Kennedy, sometimes one, often both, went with 
the girls. Occasionally Will and his friends ran 
out for a day or two, taking cruises with Betty 
and her chums. 

Aunt Kate remained as chaperone, others who 
had been invited finding it impossible to come. 
The girls' mothers made up a party and paid 
them a visit one day, being royally entertained 
at the time. 

" Yes, you girls certainly know how to do 
things," said Mr. Stone one day; after Betty had 
skillfully avoided a collision, due to the careless- 
ness of another skipper. 

" I wish we could do something to get those 
papers for father," thought Grace. Not a trace 
had been found of Prince or the missing door 



164 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE' 

ments. It was very strange. Mr. Ford and his 
lawyer friends could not understand it. The in- 
terests opposed to him \vere preparing to take 
action, it was rumored, and if the papers were 
found this would be stopped. Even a detec- 
tive agency that made a specialty of tracing 
lost articles had no success. Prince and the 
papers seemed to have vanished into thin 
air. 

One day as Betty and her chums were motor- 
ing about the lake, having gone to the store for 
some supplies, they saw the two boys who had 
been searching for their canoe. 

"Did you find it?' asked Grace. 

" No, not a trace of it. Too, bad, too, for we 
saved up our money nearly a year to buy her. 
Some one must have her. The reward is four 
dollars, now," said the taller of the two lads. 
"If you find her we'll give you that money; 
won't we?' and he appealed to his companion. 

" We sure will ! " 

"Well, if we see, or hear, anything of it we'll 
let you know," promised Betty. " Poor fel- 
lows," she murmured, as they rowed away. 
They had made a circuit of the lake, going in 
many coves, but without success. 

" It's about time to be thinking of camp, if 
vre're going in for that sort of thing," announced 
Betty one day. " Shall we try it, girl? ? " 



ON. ELM, ISLAND. 165 



: I'd like it," said Mollie. : We can use tHe 
boat, too ; can't we ? ' 

"Of course," replied Betty. 

"And sleep aboard?' asked Grace. 

" No, let's sleep in a tent/' proposed Amy. 
" It will be lots of fun." 

" But the bugs, and mosquitoes not to men- 
tion frogs and snakes," came protestingly from 
Grace. 

" Oh, we've done it before, and we can use our 
mosquito nets," said Betty. " I heard of a nice 
tent, and a well-fitted up camp over on Elm Is- 
land we can hire for a week or so." 

" But the ghost the one Mr. Lagg told 
about?" asked Mollie. 

"We'll May' the ghost!" laughed Betty. 
" Seriously, I don't believe there is anything 
more than a fisherman's story to account for it. 
Still, if you girls are afraid " 

"Afraid!' they protested in chorus. 

" Then we'll go to Elm Island," decided Betty, 
and they did. The camp, near a little dock where 
the Gem could be tied, was well suited to their 
needs. 

" Oh, we'll have a good time Here ! ' declared 
Betty as they took possession. " But we must 
get in plenty of supplies. Let's go over and call 
on Mr. Lagg," and they headed for the mainland 
in the motor boat. 



CHAPTER XVIII 

IN CAMP 

: WELL, well, young ladies, I certainly am 
glad to see you again! Indeed I am. " 

"Ladies, ladies, one and all, 
I'm very glad to have you call ! ' 

Thus Mr. Lagg made our friends welcome as 
they entered his " emporium," as the sign over 
the door had it. 

" What will it be to-day ? " he went on. 



' I've prunes and peaches, pies and pills, 
To feed you well, and cure your ills/* 



" Thank you, but we haven't any ills ! ' cried 
" Brown Betty," as her friends were beginning 
to call her, for certainly she was tanned most be- 
comingly. " However, we do want the lottest 
lot of things. Where is that list, Mollie? " 

" You have it." 

166 



IN CAMP 



" No, I gave it to you." 

" Grace had it last," volunteered Amy. " She 
said she did not want to forget " 

" Oh, we know what Grace doesn't .want to 
forget," interrupted Mollie with a laugh. " Pro c 
duce that list, Grace," and it was forthcoming, 

" You see we have let our supplies run low," 
remarked Betty as she gave her order. 

" Are you going on a long cruise? " Mr. Lagg 
wanted to know. 

" To sail and sail the bounding main, 
And then come back to port again? 

"Of course I know that isn't very good," he 
apologized. " When I make 'em up on the spur 
of the moment that way I don't take time to 
polish 'em off. And of course Rainbow Lake 
isn't exactly the bounding main, but it will ans- 
wer as well." 

" Certainly," agreed Betty, with a laugh. " I 
think that is all," she went on, looking at her 
list. " Oh, I almost forgot, we want some more 
of your lovely olives those large ones." 

" Yes, those are fine olives," admitted the store 
keeper. " I get them from New York. 

" Olives stuffed, and some with pits, 
With girls my olives sure make hits." 



168 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

He chanted this with a bow and a smile. 
' I am aware," he said, " I am aware that 
the foregoing may sound like a baseball game, 
but such is not my intention. I use hit in the 
sense of meaning that it is well-liked." 

" Too well liked I mean the olives," spoke 
Mollie. " We can't keep enough on hand. I 
think we'll have to buy them by the case after 
this." 

" As Grace does her chocolates," remarked 
Betty, with a smile that took all the sarcasm out 
of the words. 

"Well," remarked Grace, drawlingly, "I have 
noticed that you girls are generally around when 
I open a fresh box." 

"Well hit!" cried Amy. "Don't let them 
fuss you, Grace my dear." 

" I don't intend to." 

Mr. Lagg helped his red-haired boy of all 
work to carry the girls' purchases down to the 
boat. 

" You must be fixing for a long voyage," he 
remarked. 

" No, we are going to camp over on Elm Is- 
land," said Betty. 

The storekeeper started. 

"What! With the ghost?" He nearly 
dropped a package of fresh eggs. 



IN 'CAMP 

" Really, Mr. Lagg, is there er anything 
really there? " asked Mollie, seriously. 

Well, now, far be it from me to cause you 
young ladies any alarm," said Mr. Lagg, " but I 
only repeat what I heard. There is something 
on that island that none of the men or boys 
who have seen and heard it cannot account 
for." 

Just what is it? " asked Betty. 

Do you want me to tell you ? ' 

Certainly we are not afraid. Though we 
mustn't let Aunt Kate know," said Betty, 
quickly. 

Well, it's white and it rattles," said Mr. 



(t 



(( 



" 



* Sounds like a riddle," commented !my. 
" Let's see who can guess the answer." 

" White and rattles," murmured Betty. ** I 
have it it's a pan full of white dishes. Some 
lone camper goes down to wash his dishes in the 
lake every night, and that accounts for it." 

" Then we'll ask the lone camper to scam- 
per ! " cried Grace with a laugh. " We want 
peace and quietness." 

" And you are really going to camp on Elm 
Island ? " asked Mr. Lagg, as he put the pur- 
chases aboard. 

" We are," said Betty, solemnly. " And if 



THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

you hear us call for help in the middle of the 

night " 

" Betty Nelson! ' protested Amy. 



' And if for help you call on I * 
I'll come exceeding quick and spry! 



Thus spouted Mr. Lagg. 

' I am painfully aware," he said, quickly, 

'that my poem on this occasion needs much 

polishing, but I sometimes make them that way, 

just to show what can be done on the spur of 

the moment. Howsomever, I wish you luck. 

And if you do need help, just holler, or light a 

fire on shore, or fire a gun. I can see you or 

hear you from the end of my dock." Indeed, 

Elm Island was in sight. 

The girls w r ent back with their supplies, and 
soon were in camp. The hard part of the work 
had been done for them by those of whom they 
had hired the tent and the outfit. All that re- 
mained to do was to light the patent oil stove, and 
cook. They could prepare their meals aboard 
the boat if they desired, and take them to the 
dining tent. In short they could take their choice 
of many methods of out-door life. 

Their supplies were put away, the camp gotten 
in " ship-shape," cots were made up, and mos- 
quito bars suspended to insure a night of com- 



CAUP 



fort A little tour was made o'f llie island in 
the vicinity of the camp, and, as far as the girls 
could see, occasional picnic parties were the 
only visitors. There were no other campers 
there. 

" We'll have a marshmallow roast to-night," 
decided Betty, as evening came on. They had 
gathered wood for a fire on the shore of the lake, 
and the candy had been provided by Grace, as 
might have been guessed. 

" I hope the ghost doesn't come and want 
some," murmured Mollie. 

" Hush ! ' exclaimed Betty. A noise in the 
woods made them all jump. Then they laughed, 
as a bird flew out. 

" Our nerves are not what they should be," 
said Betty. "We must calm down. I .wonder 
did we get any pickles? ' 

" I saw him put some in," spoke Grace. 

"Then let's have supper, and we'll go out for 
a ride on the lake afterward," suggested Betty. 

"Maybe the ghost will carry off our camp," 
remarked Amy. 

" Don't you dare let Kunt Kate hear you say 
that or she'll run away ! ' cried Betty. " Come 
on, everyone help get supper, and we'll be through 
early," and, gaily humming she began to set 
the table that stood under a canvas shelter in 
front of the big tent. 



CHAPTER XIX 

A QUEER DISTURBANCE 

" HAVE we blankets enough? ' 
" It's sure to be cool before morning." 
: We can burn the oil stove turned down low 
that will make the tent warm. 

' Oh, but it makes it so close and er 
smelly." 

They all laughed at that. 
Betty and her chums were preparing to spend 
their first night in camp on Elm Island, in the 
tent. They had had supper eating with fine 
appetites and after a little run about the lake 
had tied up at the small dock near their tent. 

' A lantern would be a good thing to burn," 
said Aunt Kate. " That will give some warmth, 
too." 

"And we can see better, if if anything > 
comes ! " exclaimed Amy, evidently with an effort. 
'Anything what do you mean?' demanded 
Mollie, as she combed out her long hair, prepara- 
tory to braiding it. 

179 



A QUEER DISTURBANCE 173 

"Well, I mean er anything!" and again 
Amy faltered. 

" Oh, girls she means the ghost ! " exclaimed 
Betty, with a laugh. " Why not say it? " 

" Don't ! " pleaded Grace. 

" Now look here," went on practical Betty. 
" There's no use evading this matter. There's 
no such thing as a ghost, of that we are certain, 
and yet if we shy at mentioning it all the while 
it will only make us more nervous." 

" The idea ! I'm not nervous a bit," declared 
Mollie. 

" Well, then," resumed Betty, " there's no use 
in being afraid to use the word, as Amy seemed 
to be. So talk ghost all you like you can't 
scare me. I'm so tired I know I'll sleep soundly, 
and I hope the rest of you will. Only, for good- 
ness sakes, don't be talking in wierd whispers. 
That is far worse than all the ghosts in crea- 
tion." 

" That's what I say ! " exclaimed Aunt Kate, 
who was an old-fashioned, motherly soul. l If 
the ghost comes I'm going to talk to it, and ask 
how things are er on the other side. Girls, 
it's a great privilege to have a ghostly friend. 
If the man who owns this island knew what was 
good for him he'd advertise the fact that it was 
haunted. If Mr. Lagg were here I'd get him 



174 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAK& 

to make up a poem about the ghost. That would 
scare it off, if anything could." 

" That's the way to talk ! " cried Betty, cheer- 
fully. "And now for a good night's rest 
Bur r r r ! It is cold ! ' and she shivered. 

" I'm going to get some more blankets from the 
boat/' declared Mollie. " I know we'll be glad 
of them before morning. Come along with me, 
Grace," she added, after a moment's pause, as 
she took up one of the lanterns. " You can help 
carry them." 

" And scare away the " began Amy. 

" Indeed, I wasn't thinking a thing about it! ' 
insisted Mollie, with emphasis. " And I'll thank 
you to " 

She began in that impetuous style, that usually 
presaged a burst of temper, and Betty looked 
distressed. But Mollie corrected her fault al- 
most before she had committed it. 

" Excuse me, Amy," she said, contritely. " I 
know what you mean. Will you come, Grace? ' 

"Of course. I'll be glad of some extra cov- 
erings myself." 

The two girls were back in remarkably short 
time. 

" You didn't stay long," commented Betty, 
drily. 

" It's only a step to the dock," answered Mol- 



A QUEER DISTURBANCE 175 

lie, as she and Grace deposited their arm-loads 
of blankets on the cots. 

Then after the talk and laughter had died 
away, quiet gradually settled down in the camp 
tent. The Outdoor Girls were trying to go to 
sleep, but one and all, afterward, even Aunt 
Kate, complained that it was difficult. Whether 
it was the change from the boat, or the talk of 
the ghost, none could say. At any rate there 
were uneasy turnings from side to side, and as 
each cot squeaked in a different key, and as one 
or the other was constantly " singing," the re- 
sult may be imagined. 

"Oh, dear! " exclaimed Grace, impatiently, af- 
ter a half-hour of comparative quiet, " I know 
I'll never get to sleep. Do you girls mind if I 
sit up and read a little? That always makes me 
drowsy, and I've got a book that needs finish- 
ing." Only Aunt Kate was slumbering. 

" Got any chocolates that need eating? " asked 
Mollie, with a laugh, in which they all joined, 
half-hysterically. 

" Yes, I have ! ' with emphasis. " But, just 
for that you won't get any." 

" I don't want them ! You couldn't hire me 
to eat candy at night," and again Mollie flared up. 

"Girls, girls!" besought Betty. "This will 
never do ! We will all be rags in the morning." 



176 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 



1 Polishing rags then, I hope," murmured 
Amy. " My hands are black from the oil stove 
it smoked, and I'll need a cake of sand-soap 
to get clean again." 

"Well, I can't stand this I'm too fidgety!" 
declared Grace. " I'm going to sit up a little 
while, and read. I'm going to eat a chocolate, 
too. I'll give you some, Mollie, if you like. I 
bought a fresh box of Mr. Lagg. 

" Chocolates they are nice and sweet, 
Good for man and beast to eat." 

" Give me a young lady-like brand," suggested 
Amy. 

" Why don't we all of us sit up a while, and 
I have it we'll make a pot of chocolate," ex- 
claimed Mollie. " That will make us all sleep, 
and warm us it is getting real chilly already." 

" Perhaps that will be best," agreed Betty, as 
she donned her heavy dressing gown and warm 
slippers, for the tent was cool even in July. 

Soon there was the aroma of chocolate in tEe 
little cooking shelter, and the girls sat around, 
in various picturesque and comfortable attitudes, 
sipping the warm beverage and nibbling the crisp 
crackers. 

Then gradually their nerves quieted down, an'd 



A QUEER DISTURBANCE 177 

even Grace, more aroused than any of the others, 
began to feel drowsy. One by one they again 
sought their cots, and finally a series of deep 
breathings told of much-needed sleep. 

It must have been long after midnight when 
Betty was suddenly aroused by a queer noise. 
She had slept heavily, and at first she was not 
fully aware of her surroundings, nor what had 
awakened her. Then she became conscious of a 
curious heavy breathing, as of some animal. 
She sat up in alarm, her heart pounding furiously. 
Her throat went dry. 

" Girls girls ! ' she gasped, Hoarsely. " Aunt 
Kate ! " 

The latter was the first to reply. Quickly 
reaching out to the lantern near her, she turned up 
the wick. Following the sudden illumination in 
the tent there was a cracking in the underbrush 
near it. 

" Oh ! ' screamed Grace, sitting up. " What 
is it?" 

"I'm going to look!' said Mollie, resolutely. 

" Don't! Don't!" pleaded Amy, but Mollie 
was already at the flap of the tent, which she 
quickly loosed. Then she screamed. 

"Look! It's white! It's white!" 

Betty, forcing herself to action, stood beside 
her chum. She was just in time to see some- 



578 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

thing big and white run down toward the lake. 
There was a clash and jingling as of chains, and 
a splashing of water. Then the white thing dis- 
appeared, and the girls stood staring at one an- 
other, trembling violently. 



CHAPTER XX 

THE STORM 

GRACE "draped" herself over the nearest cot 
Amy followed her example, with the added dis- 
tinction that she covered her head with the blan- 
kets. Betty and Mollie stooa clinging to each 
other. 

" Though I 'don't think they were any braver 
than we," declared Grace afterward. " They 
simply couldn't fall down, for Betty wanted to 
go one way and Grace the other. So they just 
naturally held each other up." 

"I couldn't stand," declared Amy. "My 
knees shook so." 

Aunt Kate was trie first to speak after tfie 
apparition had passed away, seeming to lose it- 
self in the lake. 

" Girls, have you any idea what it was ? ' she 
asked. 

" The the ," began Amy. " Oh, I can't 

say it ! ' she wailed from beneath the covers. 

" Don't be silly ! " commanded Betty, sharply. 

J79 



180 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

If you mean ghost say so," but she herself 
hesitated over the word. 

" If that was the ghost it was the queerest one 
I ever saw!' declared Mollie, with resolution. 
" I don't just mean that, either," she hastened 
to add, " for I never saw a ghost before. But 
in all the stories I ever read ghosts w r ere tall and 
thin, of the willowy type " 

* Like Grace," put in Betty, with rather a wan 
smile. 

" Don't you dare compare me to a ghost ! ' 
commanded the "(Gibson girl," with energy that 
brought the blood to her pale cheeks. She ven- 
tured to peer out from under the tent flap now. 
"Is it is it gone?' she faltered. 

" It's in the lake whatever it was," said Mol- 
lie. "But wasn't it oddly shaped, Betty?" 

" It was indeed. And it made plenty of noise. 
Real ghosts never do that." 

" Oh, some do ! ' asserted Amy. " I read the 
' Ghost of the Stone Castle/ a most fascinating 
story, and that ghost always rattled chains, and 
made a terrible noise." 

"What did it turn out to be?" asked Aunt: 
Kate. 

: The story didn't say. No one ever found 
out." 

"Well, this one is exactly like Mr. Lagg de- 



THE STORM T 8i 

scribed," spoke Grace, "chains and all. What 
could it have been? ' 

" I imagine," said Betty, slowly, " that it may 
be some wild animal ? " 

Grace screamed. 

"What is it now?' asked Betty, regarding 
her. 

" Don't say wild animals they're worse than 
ghosts ! " 

" Nonsense ! Don't be silly! I mean it may 
be some wild animal, like a fox or deer that 
has been caught in a trap. Traps have chains 
on them, you know, This animal may have been 
caught some time ago, have pulled the chain loose, 
and the poor thing may be going around with 
the trap still fastened to him. That would ac- 
count for the rattling." 

" Yes," said Mollie, " that may be so, and there 
may be white foxes, but I never heard of any 
outside of Arctic regions. But, Betty Nelson, 
there never was a fox as large as that. Why it 
was as as big as our tent ! ' 

" Yes, and how it sniffed and breathed ! ' 
added Betty. " I guess it couldn't be a wild 
animal. It may have been a cow. I wonder if 
any campers here keep a white cow?' 

' A cow would moo," declared Grace. 

" But whatever it was, it was frightened at or 



182 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

light," said Aunt Kate, practically, " so I don't 
think we need to be afraid of it -whatever 
it was. We'll leave a light outside the tent the 
rest of the night, and it won't come back." 

" I'm going to sleep in the boat ! ' declared 
Grace, 

" Nonsense ! " cried Betty. " Don't be a de- 
serter! Have some more chocolate, and we'll all 
go to sleep," and they finally persuaded Grace 
to remain. It took some little time to get their 
nerves quiet, but finally they all fell into a more 
or less uneasy slumber that lasted until morning. 
The " ghost " did not return. 

Wan, and with rather dark circles under their 
eyes, the girls got breakfast the next morning. 
The meal put them in better spirits, and when 
they bustled around about the camp duties they 
forgot their scare of the night before. 

They made a partial tour of the island, though 
some parts were too densely wooded and swampy 
to penetrate. But such parts as they visited 
showed the presence of no other campers. They 
were alone on Elm Island, save for an occasional 
picnic party, several evidently having been there 
the day before. 

"Then that thing couldn't have been a 
cow," said Grace, positively. 

" Make up a new theory," suggested Betty, 



<f 
t( 



THE STORM 183 

with a laugh. " One thing, though, we're not 
going to let it drive us away; are we not away 
from our camp ? ' 

The others did not answer for a moment, and 
then Mollie exclaimed: 

I'm going to stay for one." 
So am I ! ' declared Aunt Kate, vigorously. 
" A light will keep whatever animal it is away, 
and I'm sure it was that. Of course we'll stay ! " 

There was nothing for Grace and Amy to do 
but give in which they did, rather timidly, be it 
confessed. 

" And now let's go for a ride/' proposed Betty, 
after lunch. " There are some things I want to 
get at Mr. Lagg's store." 

" Will you tell him about the ghost? ' asked 
Grace. 

" Certainly not. It may be," said Betty, " that 
some one is playing a joke on us. In that case 
we'll not give him the satisfaction of knowing 
that we saw anything. We will keep silent, 
girls." And they did. 



' Matches, soap and oil and butter, 
Business gives me such a flutter." 



Mr. Lagg recited this as Betty gave her order. 
" Have you seen the ghost ? " he asked. 



184 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

" Oh! " cried Grace, " you have in some fresh' 
chocolates! I must have some." 

" You'll find my chocolates sweet and good, 
To eat on lake or in the wood! ' 

Mr. Lagg's attention being diverted to a new 
subject, he did not press his question. Thus the 
girls escaped committing themselves. 

" I think we are going to have a storm," re- 
marked Betty, when they were under way again, 
cruising down the lake toward Triangle Island, 
where they expected to call on some friends. 
" And as Rainbow gets rough very quickly, I 
think we shall turn back." 

"Yes, do," urged Amy. "I detest getting 
wet." 

" The cabin is dry," urged Grace. 

" We had better go back," urged Aunt Kate, 
and the prow of the Gem was swung around. 
Other boats, too small or not staunch enough to 
weather the blow that was evidently preparing, 
had turned about for a run to shore. There 
passed Betty's craft the two boys whose canoe 
had been taken. 

"Any luck?" asked Betty, interestedly. 

" No, we haven't found a trace of it yet," tfie 
older one replied. 



THE STORM 185 

i 
In the West dark masses of vapor were piling 

up, and now and then the clouds were split by; 
a jagged chain of lightning, while the ever-in- 
creasing rumble of thunder told of the onrush 
of the storm. 

" We're going to get caught ! " declared Mollie. 
" I guess I'll close the ports, Betty." 

" Do ; and bring out my raincoat, please." 

Attired in this protective garment over her 
sailor suit, the Little Captain stood at the wheel. 

With a blast that flecked the crests of the 
waves into foam, with a rattle and roar, and a 
vicious swish of rain, the storm broke over the 
Gem while she was yet a mile from the camp on 
Elm Island. The boat heeled over, for her cabin 
was high and offered a broad surface to the wind. 

" We'll capsize! " screamed Amy. 

" We will not ! ' exclaimed Betty, above the 
noise. She shifted the wheel to bring the boat 
head-on to the waves, and this made her ride on 
a more even keel. Then, with a downpour, ac- 
companied by terrific thunder and vivid light- 
ning, the storm broke. Betty bravely stood to 
her post, the others offering to relieve her, but 
she would not give up the wheel, and remained 
there until the little dock was reached. Then, 
making snug their craft, they raced for the tent 
It had stood up well, for it was protected frorfl 



THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

the gale by big elm trees. Soon they were in 
shelter. 

And then, almost as suddenly as it had come 
up, the storm passed. The clouds seemed to 
melt away, and the sun came out, the shower 
passing to the East. 

Grace, who had gone out on the end of the 
dock, called to the others. 

" Oh, come on and see it ! ' 

"What the ghost?' inquired Mollie. 

" No, but the most beautiful rainbow I ever 
saw a double one ! ' 

They came beside her, and Grace pointed to 
where, arching the heavens, were two bows of 
many colors, one low down, vivid and perfect, 
the other above it a fainter reflection. As the 
sun came out from behind the clouds tHe colors 
grew brighter. 

" How lovely! " murmured Amy, clasping her 
hands. 

" Yes, it is the most brilliant bow I have ever 
seen," added Aunt Kate. " It seems almost like > 
like a painted one. I could be more poetical if 
I were Mr. Lagg," and she laughed. 

" It is very vivid," went on Betty. " In fact 
I have heard it said that on account of the 
peculiar situation of this lake, the high mountains 
around it, and the clouds, there are brighter rain- 



THE STORU l8;t 

bows here than anywhere else in this country. 
That is how the lake got its name Rainbow. 
It was the Indians who first gave it that, I was 
told, though I don't know the Indian name for 
rainbow." 

" We don't need to this is beautiful as it is," 
murmured Grace. " Oh, isn't it wonderful ! ' 
and they stood there admiring the beautiful 
scene, and recalling the old story of the bow * 
the promise of the Creator after the flood that 
never again would the world be submerged. 

Then the light gradually died from the colored 
arches, to be repeated again in the wonder f til 
cloud effects at sunset. The storm ihad been like 
the weeping of a little child, who smiles before 
its tears-^-and afterward. 



a 
ti 



CHAPTER XXI 

THE GHOST 

" GIRLS, there are letters for each of us!' 
exclaimed Betty. 

Any for me ? ' ' asked Aunt Kate. 
Yes, a nice adipose that is to say, fleshy 
one," exclaimed Mollie, passing it over. It was 
bulky. 

The girls had stopped at the store of Mr. 
Lagg, where they had sent word to have their 
mail forwarded. The occasion was a morning 
visit several days after they had established their 
camp on Elm Island. 

"Any news? " asked Betty of Mollie, the for- 
mer having finished a brief note from home, 
stating that all were well. 

"Yes, poor little Dodo is to go to the spe- 
cialist to be operated on this week. Oh, it does 
seem as if I ought to go home, and yet mamma 

writes that I am to stay and enjoy myself. She 

1 88 



THE. GHOST 

says there is practically no danger, and that there 
is great hope of success. Aunt Kittie Dodo 
was at her house when the accident happened, 
you know Aunt Kittie has come to stay with 
mamma. Every one else is well, including Paul. 

" Oh, but I shall be so anxious until it is over! 
They are going to let me know as soon as it is. 
Are we going to stay around here, where I can 
get word quickly ? ' 

" Yes, we will remain on Elm Island, I think," 
said Betty. " There is no use in cruising about 
too much when we are so comfortable there, and 
really it is lovely in the woods." 

" As long as the ghost doesn't bother us," 
spoke Amy. 

" Nonsense ! " exclaimed Betty. " What is 
your news, Grace?' 

" Oh, Will writes that he and Frank are com- 
ing up to camp on the island near us." 

" That will be fine ! " exclaimed Betty. " When 
will they get here ? ' 

"Allen can't come up until the week-end," 
went on Grace. " He has to take some kind of 
bar examinations. For the high jump, I think." 

" Silly ! " reproved Betty, with a blush. 

" But Will told me to tell you specially that 
Allen is coming," ;went on Grace. "They can 
stay a few days." 



190 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

"It will be fine," cried Mollie. "Any news 
about the papers, Grace? ' 

' Not a word, and no trace of Prince." 

" That is queer," said Betty. " But we will 
live in hopes that Dodo will be all right, and 
that the papers will be found." 

" Indeed we will," sighed Grace. 

Mr. Lagg was bowing and smiling behind his 
counter while the girls were reading their let- 
ters. 

"What will it be? What will it be? WHat will 

it be to-day? 

Be pleased to leave an order, before you go 
away 



I " 



" Really, I don't believe we need a thing/' an- 
swered Mollie, in answer to this poetical effusion. 
" We might have " 

" Some more olives," interrupted Grace. 
** They are so handy to eat, if you wake up in 
the night, and can't sleep." 

"Shades of Morpheus preserve us!' laughed 
Mollie. "Olives!" 

"Does the ghost keep you awake?' asked 
Ac storekeeper. 

"Not not lately!" answered Betty, truth- 
fully. 



<i 



THE GHOST 191 

The ghost! The ghost! with clanking chains, 
It comes out only when it rains ! ' 



Thus Amy anticipated Mr. Lagg. 

" Very good very good ! ' he commended. 
" I must write that down. Hank Lefferton was 
over setting eel pots on the island last night, and 
he said he seen it." 

"The ghost?" faltered Betty. 

"Yep. Chains and all." 

" Well, we didn't," said Aunt Kate, decidedly. 
" Come along, girls." 

They had written some souvenir cards, which 

f 

they mailed, and again they went sailing about 
Rainbow Lake. 

Several days passed. The girls went on little 
trips, on picnics, cruised about and spent delight- 
ful hours in the woods. They thoroughly en- 
joyed the camp, and the " ghost ' ' did not annoy 
them. Mollie waited anxiously for news from 
home, but none came. 

Then the boys arrived, with their camping 
paraphernalia, and in such bubbling good spirits 
that the girls were infected with them, for they 
had become rather lonesome of late. 

The boys pitched their tent near that of the 
girls, and many meals were eaten in common. 
Then one night it happened ! 



I 9 2 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

It was late, and after a jolly session a marsh- 
mallow roast, to be exact they had all retired. 
No one remained awake now, for the girls had 
become used to their surroundings, and the boys 
* Allen included, for he had come up were 
sound sleepers. 

There was a crash of underbrush, a series of 
snorts no other word describes them and the 
screaming girls, hastening to their tent flaps, 
cried : 

" The ghost ! The ghost ! " 

"Get after it, fellows!" called Will, as he 
recognized his sister's voice. "We'll lay this 
chap whoever he is ! ' 

There was a vision of something white, again 
that rattling of chains, and a plunge into the 
lake. Then all was still. 



CHAPTER XXII 

WHAT MOLLIE FOUND 



u 
(f 



'DiD you get it? ! 

Betty hesitated a moment over tHe question., 

Will, Frank and Allen stood just outside the 

tent of the girls. They had come back from a 

hurried race after the white object that had 

again disturbed the slumbers of the campers. 

" We only had a glimpse of it," answered Will. 
; Then it seemed to melt into the water." 
But it was big," said Frank. 
And made lots of noise," added Allen. 
" That's just the way it acted before," declared 
Mollie. 

In dressing gowns, warmly wrapped up, and 
in slippers, the girls were talking through the 
opened flap of the tent to Grace's brother and 
his chums. 

Can you imagine what it may be?' asked 
Kate. She had been making chocolate a 
seemingly never- failing reme'dy for night alarms. 

193 



" 



,194 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE. 

" Haven't the least idea," answered Will, " un- 
less it's someone trying to play a so-called prac- 
tical joke." 

" I'd like to get hold of the player," announced 
Allen. " I'd run him off " 

" Off the scale," interrupted Betty, with a 
laugh. 

" That's it," conceded Allen. " Are you girls 
all right?" 

" All but our nerves," answered Grace. 

The boys made a search in the gloom, but 
found nothing, and once more quiet settled down. 
Nor were they disturbed again that night. In 
the morning they laughed. 

" Oh, but it's hot ! ' exclaimed Mollie during 
the forenoon, when the question of dinner was 
being discussed. " I think we might go for a 
swim. There's a nice sandy beach at the side 
of our dock." 

"Let's!" proposed Grace. The boys Had 
gone off fishing. 

Soon the girls were splashing around in the 
lake, making a pretty picture in their becoming 
bathing suits, of which they had more use than 
they had anticipated. 

"Let's try some diving!' proposed Mollte 
always a daring water sprite. " It's lovely and 
deep here," and she looked down from the 
of the dock. 



WHAT MOLLIE FOUND 195 

" I wish I dared dive," said Amy. She was a 
rather timid swimmer, slow and deliberate, prob- 
ably able to keep afloat for a long time, but al- 
\yays timid in deep water. 

" Here goes ! ' cried impulsive Mollie^ as she 
poised for a flash into the water. 

She went down cleanly, but was rather long 
coming up. Grace and Betty looked anxiously 
at one another. 

" She is " began Betty. 

Mollie flashed into sight like a seal. 

" I I found something ! ' she panted. 

" Did you strike bottom? " asked Betty. 

"Almost. But that's all right. I'm going 
idown again. There is something down there. 
Maybe it's the ghost ! ' 

"Oh, do be careful!' cautioned Betty, but 
Mollie was already in the water. She was longer 
this time coming up, and Betty was getting nerv- 
ous. Then Mollie shot into view. 

" I I found it ! ' she gasped. 

"What? " chorused the others. 

" The missing canoe those boys have been 
looking for! It is down there on the bottom, 
weighted with stones. We will get it up for 
them!" 



CHAPTER XXIII 



SETTING A TRAP 



<t A , 



ARE you sure it is the canoe ? ' ' asked Betty* 
who did not want Mollie to take any unneces- 
sary risks. 

" Of course I am/' came the confident answer, 
as Mollie poised, in her dripping bathing suit, on 
the little dock. She made a pretty picture, too, 
with her red cap, and blue suit trimmed witS 
white. " I could feel the edge of the gunwhale," 
she went on, " and the stones in it that keep it 
clown." 

"But how can we get it up?' asked Grace, 
who was sitting on the dock, splashing her feet 
in the water. Grace never did care much about 
getting wet. Amy said she thought she looked 
better dry. Certainly she was a pretty girl and 
knew how to " pose ' to make the most of her 
charms small blame to her, though, for she was 
unconscious of it. 

"We can get it up easily enough," declared 

196 



SETTING A TRAP 



Mollie, wringing the water from her skirt. " 
we'll have to cfo wilr 6e to toss out the stones, one 
by one, and the canoe will almost float itself. I 
can tie a rope to the bow, and we can stand on 
shore and pull. Those boys will be so glad to 
get it back." 

"But can we lift out the heavy; stones?" 
asked Amy, in considerable doubt. 

" Of course we can. You know any object is 
much lighter in water than out of it, we learned 
that in physics class, you remember. The water 
buoys it up. You can move a much heavier 
stone under water than you could if the same 
stone was on land. We can all try." 

" I never could stay under water long enough 
to get out even one stone," declared Grace. 

" Nor I," added Amy. 

" I'll try," spoke Betty she was always will- 
ing to try "but I'm afraid I can't be of much 
help, Mollie. And I'm sure I don't want you to 
<lo it all." 

" Well, wait until I make another inspection," 
said the diving girl. " It may be more than I 
bargained for. I'll hold my breath longer this 
time." 

"Do be careful!" cautioned Aunt Kate, com- 
ing out from the tent. 

41 We will," promised Betty. 



198 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

Again Mollie dived. She had practiced the 
trick of opening her eyes under water, and this 
time she looked carefully over the sunken canoe. 
She stayed under her full limit, and when she 
came up she was panting for breath. 

" You must not stay under so long," warned 
Betty. 

" There are a lot of stones," gasped 
Mollie. " But I think we can do it," she added 
a moment later. 

" I'll see what I can do," spoke Betty. She 
was a good swimmer and diver, perhaps not so 
brilliant a performer as Mollie, but with more 
staying qualities. Down went Betty in a clean 
dive, and when she came up, panting and shaking 
the water from her eyes, she called: 

" I lifted out two, but I think we had better 
let the boys do it, Mollie/' 

" Perhaps," was the reply. 

" I'm sorry you can't count on me," said 
Grace, " but really I'd have nervous prostration 
if I went down there, even though it's only ten 
feet deep, as you say." 

"Well, getting nervous prostration under 
water would be a very bad idea," commented 
Betty. 

" And I'm sure I never could do it," remarked 
Amy. " Do let the boys manage it, Bet. The 



SETTING A TRAP 



199 



lads who own the canoe will be glad of the 
chance." 

' I'm going to move out a couple of stones, so 
Betty won't beat my record," laughed Mollie, 
diving again. She bobbed up a moment later. 

"Oh, dear!" she cried. "An eel slid right 
over me. Ugh ! I'm not going down again ! " 
and she shivered. Even the fearless Mollie had 
had enough of the under-water work. 

By means of a cord and a float the position 
of the sunken canoe was marked, so that the 
boys could locate it, and when they returned 
from a rather unsuccessful fishing trip, they 
readily agreed to raise the boat. It did not 
take them long to remove the stones, for Will, 
Frank and Allen were all expert swimmers, and 
could remain under water much longer than can 
most persons. 

Then a rope was made fast to the canoe, which 
would not rise completely because of being filled 
with water. It was pulled ashore and word sent 
to tfie young owners. That they were delighted 
goes without saying. They proffered the reward 
they had offered, but of course our friends would 
not take it. Later it was learned that the canoe 
had been taken by an unscrupulous fisherman, 
who was not above the suspicion of making a 
practice of such tricks. It was thought he in- 



200 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT. RAINBOW LAKE. 

tended to let it remain where it was until fall, 
when he would raise it, paint it a different color, 
and sell it. But Mollie's fortunate dive frus- 
trated his plans. 

"Seen anything more of the ghost?' asked 
Will of the girls, when the canoe had been 
moored to the shore. 

" No, and we don't want to," returned Betty. 

"Afraid?" Allen wanted to know. 

" Indeed not ! ' ' she exclaimed, with a blush. 

" I'll tell you what let's do," suggested Frank. 
" Let's take a look around and see if that ghost 
left any footprints." 

" Ghosts never do," asserted Will. 

" Well, let's have a look anyhow. We should 
have done it before. Now, as nearly as I can 
recollect, the creature came about to here, and 
then rushed into the lake," and Frank went to a 
spot some distance from the tents. The others 
agreed that it was about there that the white 
object had been seen. Will was looking along 
the ground, going toward the lake. Suddenly, 
he uttered an exclamation. 

" Girls ! Fellows ! " he cried. " Come here! " 

They all hastened to his side. He pointed to 
some marks in the sandy soil. 

What are they?' he asked, excitedly. 
Hoof marks ! " cried Allen, dramatically. 



a 
ct 



SETTING 2 TRAh 201 

i 

" That's right ! " agreed Will. " They are the 
marks of a horse! Girls, that's what your ghost 
is a white horse, and and " 

He ceased abruptly, looked at Grace strangely, 
and then brother and sister gasped together: 

" Prince ! " 

"What?" demanded Allen. 

" I'll wager almost anything that this ghost is 
my white horse, Prince, that has been missing so 
long ! ' went on Will. " But how in the world 
he could have gotten on this island, so far from 
the mainland, is a mystery!' 

"Couldn't he swim?' asked Frank. 

"Of course!" cried Will. "I forgot about 
that. And Prince was once a circus horse, or at 
least in some show where he had to jump into a 
tank of water. Prince is a regular hippopotamus 
when it comes to water. Strange I never thought 
of that before! 

" But this solves the ghost mystery, girls. 
You and the other folks have been frightened 
by white Prince scooting about the island." 

" We we weren't so very frightened," spoke 
Mollie. 

" But the rattling chains? ' questioned Grace. 
'" What were they ? " 

"The stirrups, of course," answered lier 
Brother. "And, by Jove, Grace, if the stirrups 



202 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

are on Prince the saddle must be on him also, 
and the papers " 

" Oh, isn't this just fine ! ' cried Grace, her 
face alight. ' Now papa can complete that busi- 
ness deal. I never loved a ghost before. Dear 
old Prince ! " 

" Of course we are assuming a lot," said Will. 
" It may not be Prince after all, but all signs 
point to it. He must have been on this island 
all the while. No wonder we could get no trace 
of him. Probably he was so frightened at the 
storm and the auto, and his fall, that he ran on 
until he came to the lake. Then his old training 
came back to him, and in he plunged. There's 
enough fodder here for a dozen horses. He's 
just been running wild. I'll have my own 
troubles with him when I get him back." 

"But how are you going to do it?' asked 
Frank. 

" We'll search the island for him," replied 
Will. " Come on, we'll start now." 

Changing from their bathing suits to more 
conventional garments, the boys and girls at once 
began a tour of the island. But though it was 
not very large, there were inaccessible places, 
and it must have been in one of these that Prince 
hid during the day, for they neither saw nor 
heard anything of him. 



SETTING A TRAP 203 

"We've got to set a trap! " exclaimed Will. 

" How ? ' asked Grace. 

"Well, evidently he's been in the habit of 
coming around the tent to get scraps of food. 
We'll leave plenty out to-night, and also some 
oats. Then we'll watch, and when Prince comes 
I'll catch him." 

The boys voted this plan a good one. They 
!went over to Mr. Lagg's store in the Gem to get 
a supply of fodder for the trap. 

" A horse on the island ! " exclaimed Mr. Lagg. 
" So that's the ghost ; eh ? Well, it's very likely, 
but it sort of spoils the story. 

" A ghostly ghost a ghost in \vhite 
Appearing in the darkest night. 
That it should prove a horse to be, 
Most certainly amazes me. 3 



" 



' Good ! " exclaimed Will, with a laugh. You 
are progressing, Mr. Lagg." 

A goodly supply of oats was placed in a box: 
near the tent that evening, and then the boys 
and girls sat about the camp-fire and talked, 
while waiting for the time to retire. The boys 
were to make the attempt to capture Prince. 



CHAPTER XXIV 

THE GHOST CAUGHT 

' WHEN do you expect to hear about little 
Dodo?' asked Grace, as the girls sat together 
on a log in front of the fire, "like roosting 
chickens," Will was ungallant enough to remark. 

" Almost any day now," replied Mollie. 
" They were to wait for the most favorable time 
for the operation, and the specialist, so mamma 
wiore, could not exactly fix on the day. But I 
am anxious to hear." 

' I should think you would be. Poor little 
Dodo! I'd give anything to hear her say now 
'Has oo dot any tandy?' 

" Don't," spoke Betty in a low tone to Grace* 
for she saw the tears in Mollie's eyes. 

" It was the strangest thing how Stone and 
Kennedy should turn out to be the two chaps 
in the auto," remarked Will, to change the sub- 
ject. "And you have never let on that Grace 
was tKe girl on the horse?' 

" Never," answered Amy. " Don't say -after 

this that girls can't keep a secret." 

204 



THE GHOST CAUGHT 



205 



Frank was to watcli the first part of the night, 
to be relieved by Allen, and the latter by Will. 

" For, from what the girls say, Prince has 
been in the habit of coming rather late," Will 
explained, " and he's more likely to let me catch 
him than if you fellows tried it. So I'll take 
last watch." 

Frank's vigil was unrewarded, and when he 
awakened Allen, who sat up, sleepy-eyed, there 
was nothing to report. Allen found it hard work 
to keep awake, but managed to do so by drink- 
ing cold coffee. 

"Anything doing, old man?' asked Will, as, 
yawning, he got on some of the clothes he had 
discarded, the more comfortably to lie down on 
the cot. 

" Something came snooping around about an 
Hour ago. At first I thought it was the horse, 
and went out to take a look. But it was only 
a fox, I guess, for it scampered away in the 
bushes. I hope you have better luck." 

" So do I. Dad wants those papers the worst 
way. If I could get them for him I'd feel better, 
'for I can't get over blaming myself that it was < 
my fault they were lost. It was, because I 
shouldn't have sent Grace for them when I knew 
Kow important they were.' 3 

Allen went to his cot, and Will tobK up fiis 



206 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

vigil. For an hour he sat reading by a shaded 
lantern, so the light would not shine in the faces 
of his chums. Then, when he was beginning to 
nod, in spite of the attractions of the book, he 
heard a noise that brought him bolt upright in 
the chair. 

'Something is coming!' he whispered. He 
stole to the edge of the board platform, and 
cautiously opened the flap of the tent. The box 
containing oats and sugar had been placed a 
little distance away, in plain view. 

" That's Prince ! " exclaimed Will, for in the 
moonlight he saw a white horse eating from the 
box. The "ghost' had arrived. 

Will resolved to make the attempt alone. He 
stepped softly from the tent, and made his way 
toward the horse. He had on a pair of tennis 
shoes that made his footsteps practically noise- 
less. Fortunately, Prince, should it prove to be 
that animal, stood sideways to the tent, his head 
away from it, so that he did not see Will. The 
boy tried to ascertain if there was a saddle on 
the horse, but there was the shadow of a tree 
across the middle of his back, and it was im- 
possible to say for sure. 

Nearer and nearer stole Will. He thought he 
was going to have no trouble catching him, but 
when almost Beside Prince, for Will was certain 



THE GHOST CAUGHT 



207 



of the identity now, he stepped on a twig, that 
broke with a snap. 

With a snort Prince threw up his head and 
wheeled about. He saw Will, and leaped away. 

' Prince, old fellow ! Prince ! don't you know 
me? " called the boy, and he gave a whistle that 
Prince always answered. 

The horse retreated. Will held out some 
sugar he had ready for such an emergency. 

' Prince ! Prince ! ' he called. The horse 
stopped and stretched out his head, sniffing. 
Frank and Allen came to the tent opening. 
" Keep back ! ' called Will, in even tones. " I 
think I have him. Prince ! Come here ! ' 

The horse took a step forward. He sensed 
his master now. Will advanced, speaking gently, 
and a moment later Prince, with a joyful whinny, 
was nibbling at the sugar in the boy's hand. Then 
Will slid the other along and caught the mane. 
The bridle was gone. 

" I have him! " cried Will. "Bring the rope, 
fellows." 

Prince was not frightened now. He stood 
still. Will led him into the full moonlight. Then 
he exclaimed: 

" The saddle is gone ! " 



CHAPTER XXV 

THE MISSING SADDLE 

"HAVE you caught Prince ?" Grace called 
this to her brother from the tent where she and 
the other girls had been aroused by the com- 
motion. 

Yes, I have him. He knew me almost at 
once/' answered Will. "But the saddle is 
gone ! ' 

"And the papers?' Grace faltered. 

' Gone with it, I fancy. Too bad ! ' 

" Maybe he just brushed the saddle off/' sug- 
gested Allen, who, with Frank, had come out 
with a rope halter that had been provided in 
case the " ghost hunt ' was a success. " We'll 
look around. I'll get a lantern." 

But a hasty search in the darkness revealed 
nothing. There was no sign of a saddle. 

E We'll have to wait until morning/' sighed 
Will, as he tied Prince to a tree. " Then we can 

see better, and look all around. Prince, old boy, 

208 



THE MISSING SADDLE 



209 



you knew me; didn't you? ' The handsome ani- 
mal whinnied, and rubbed his nose against Will's 
arm. 

" And so you played the part of a ghost, you 
rascal! Scaring the girls " 

" We'll never admit that," called Betty from 
the tent. 

There was nothing more to do that night, after 
making Prince secure. The boys ate a little mid- 
night supper, and from the tent of the girls came 
the odor of chocolate, which Grace insisted on 
making. Then, after fitful slumbers, morning 
came. 

Will was up early to examine Prince. He 
found the healed cut, where the auto had struck, 
and there was evidence that the saddle had been 
on the animal until recently. The iron stirrups 
would account for the sound like chains. 

" The saddle must be somewhere on this 
island," declared Will. " I'm going to find it." 

"How? 5 asked Allen, who had made a care- 
ful toilet, as Betty had promised to go for a row 
'with him. 

" I'll strap a pacl on Prince, get on his bade, 
and see where he takes me. The way I figure is 
this. Prince never liked to be in the open. I'm 
almost certain he has been staying in some sort 
jpif shelter either a cave, or an old cabin, or 



210 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

stable on the island. The saddle may have come 
off there. Now he'll most likely take me right 
to his stopping place. Of course he may not, 
but it's worth trying." 

' Indeed it is," agreed Frank. 

After a hasty breakfast Will put his plan to 
the test. Prince was fed well, and with Frank 
and Allen to follow, Will leaped on his pet's 
back, and gave him free rein or, rather, free 
halter, since there was no bridle. The girls said 
they would take a walk around the island, look* 
ing for the saddle as they went. 

Prince, after a little hesitation, started off 
with Will on his back. The splendid anima! 
headed for the lake shore, and for a moment 
Will was inclined to think that Prince was going 
to plunge in and swim to some other island or 
the mainland. But Prince was only thirsty, and, 
slaking that desire, he ambled along the shore 
for a mile or so, the two young men following. 

" Where can he be going? " asked Frank. 

"Just let him alone," counseled Will. "He 
knows what he is about." 

And so Prince did. He took a path he had 
evidently traveled many times before, to judge 
by the hoof-marks, and presently came to at 
swampy place at which Frank and Allen balked. 

"Wait here," advised Will. "I'll soon be 



THE MISSING SADDLE 2 lt 

back. This is near one end of the island. It 
must be here that Prince has his stable." 

And so it proved. Splashing through the 
swamp, Prince ascended a little slope, pushed 
under some low tree branches that nearly 
brushed Will from his back, and came to a halt 
before a tumbled-down cabin, that was just about 
large enough for an improvised stable. Will 
leaped off, gave a look inside, and uttered a 
shout of joy, for there, trampled on and torn, 
broken and water-stained, was the saddle. A 
second later Will was kneeling before it, explor- 
ing the saddle pockets. 

" Here they are ! ' he cried, as he pulled oul 
the missing papers. " I have them, fellows ! ' 

A hasty survey showed him that they were all 
there somewhat stained and torn, to be sure, 
but as good as ever for the purpose in- 
tended. 

" This is great luck ! " cried Will. He looked 
about him. Then he saw the reason why Prince 
had made this place his headquarters. The for- 
mer occupant of the deserted cabin had left be- 
hind a quantity of salt, and as all animals like, 
and need, this crystal, Prince had been attracted 
to the place. It was like the old " buffalo licks." 
Then, too, there was shelter from storms. 

"Prince, old man, you're all right!" cried 



212 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

Will, as he put the papers in his pockets. By 
dint of a little hasty repairing the saddle could 
be used temporarily. It was evident that Prince 
had kept it on until lately, and the dangling stir- 
rups had caused the sound like rattling chains. 
There was no sign of the bridle, however, but 
the halter would answ v er. Will saddled his pet, 
and soon had rejoined Frank and Allen, to whom 
he had shouted the good news. Then a hasty 
trip was made back to camp. 

" Oh, I'm so glad ! " cried Grace. " Now I 
can really enjoy camping and cruising. You 
must telephone papa at once." 

Which Will did, the whole party going over 
to Mr. Lagg's store in the motor boat. 

" Yes, I have the papers safe," Will told Mr. 
Ford. "Yes, I'll mail them at once. What's 
that Dodo tell Mollie Dodo is over the opera- 
tion and is going to get well? I will that's 
good news ! Hurrah ! ' 

" Oh, thank the dear Lord ! ' ' murmured Mol- 
lie, and then she sobbed on Betty's shoulder. 

"Well, I guess we are ready to start," an- 
nounced Grace. " I have the chocolates. Who 
has the olives?' 

"Chocolates and olives trie scfiool girl's de- 
light ! " mocked Will. 



THE MISSING SADDLE 213 

" Oh, you'll be asking for some," declared his 
sister. 



Chocolates and olives are good for the boys, 
And to the girls they also bring joys." 



Thus remarked Mr. Lagg. The crowd of 
young people were in his store, stocking up the 
Gem for a resumption of her cruise on Rainbow 
Lake. It was several days after the finding of 
the missing saddle and the papers. The latter 
had been sent to Mr. Ford, Prince had been 
swum across to the mainland and sent home, and 
the news about little Dodo had been confirmed. 
The child would fully recover, and not even be 
lame. 

" Oh, what a fine time we've had! " exclaimed 
Grace, as she waltzed about the store with Amy. 

" Well, the summer isn't over yet by any 
means," spoke Mollie. "And there is the glo- 
rious Fall to come. I wonder what we shall do 
then?" 

And what they did do may be ascertained by 
reading the next volume of this series, to be 
called "The Outdoor Girls in a Motor Car; Or, 
The Haunted Mansion of Shadow Valley," in 
which we will meet all our old friends .again, 
and some new ones. 



214 THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

" All aboard! " called Betty, as she led the way 
down to the dock where the Gem awaited them. 
Each one was carrying a bundle of supplies, for 
they expected to cruise for about a week. 

They boarded the motor boat Betty threw 
over the lever of the self-starter. The engine 
responded promptly. As the clutch slipped in, 
white foam showed at the stern where the indus- 
trious propeller whirled about. The Gem slid 
away from the dock. 

' Good-bye ! Good-bye ! ' called the boys and 
girls to Mr. Lagg. 

' Good-bye ! ' he answered, waving his red 
handkerchief at them. Then he recited: 

" As you sail o'er the bounding sea, 
Pause now and then and think of me. 
I've many things for man and beast, 
From chocolate drops to compressed yeast/' 



4 Good!' shouted Will, laughing. 
And Betty swung around the wheel to avoid 
the two boys whose canoe Mollie had so strangely 
found, as the Gem continued her cruise down 
Rainbow Lake. And here, for a time, we, too, 
like Mr. Lagg, will say farewell to our friends 

THE END 



nmf TT 9 

This Isn 




Would you like to know what 
became of the good friends you 
have made in this book? 

Would you like to read other 
stories continuing their adventures 
and experiences, or other books 
quite as entertaining by the same 
author ? 

On the reverse side of the wrap- 
per which comes with this book, 
you will find a wonderful list of 
stories which you can buy at the 
same store where you got this book. 

Don't throw away the Wrappef 

Use it as a handy catalog of the books 
you want some day to have. ^But in 
case you do mislay it, write to the 
Publishers . for a complete catalog. 



THE OUTDOOR GIRLS SERIES 

By LAURA LEE HOPE 
Author of "The Blythe Girls Books." 

Every Volume Complete in Itself. 

These are the adventures of a group of bright, 
fuivloving, up'to'date girls who have a common 
bond in their fondness for outdoor life, camping, 
travel and adventure. There is excitement and 
humor in these stories and girls will find in them 
the kind of pleasant associations that they seek to 
create among their own friends and chums. 

THE OUTDOOR GIRLS OF DEEPDALE 

THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE 

THE OUTDOOR GIRLS IN A MOTOR CAR 

THE OUTDOOR GIRLS IN A WINTER CAMP 

THE OUTDOOR GIRLS IN FLORIDA 

THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT_OCEAN VIEW 

THE OUTDOOR GIRLS IN ARMY SERVICE 

THE OUTDOOR GIRLS ON PINE ISLAND 

THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT THE HOSTESS HOUSE 

THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT BLUFF POINT 

THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT WILD ROSE LODGE 

THE OUTDOOR GIRLS IN THE SADDLE 

THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AROUND THE CAMPFIRE 

THE OUTDOOR GIRLS ON CAPE COD 

THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT FOAMING FALLS 

THE OUTDOOR GIRLS ALONG THE COAST 

THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT SPRING HILL FARM 

THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT NEW MOON RANCH 

THE OUTDOOR GIRLS ON A HIKE 

THE OUTDOOR GIRLS ON A CANOE TRIP 

THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT CEDAR RIDGE 

THE OUTDOOR GIRLS IN THE AIR 

GROSSET & DUNLAP, PUBLISHERS, NEW YORK 



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